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EPA Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Leadership Group presents awards for diesel-emission reduction efforts

Release Date: 10/11/2007
Contact Information: CONTACT: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA176

CHICAGO (Oct. 11, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Leadership Group today recognized people and organizations in government, non-profit and industry sectors that have taken actions to reduce diesel emissions. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Chicago.

Winners are: South Shore Clean Cities Inc., St. John, Ind.; Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, Cincinnati, Ohio; Marten Transport Ltd., Mondovi, Wis., and the Ohio Environmental Council, Columbus, Ohio.

"These award winners have all done a great job and are role models to their communities, their constituents and peers," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. "Each honoree has forged unique and effective partnerships for reducing diesel emissions in the Midwest."

South Shore Clean Cities Inc. was recognized for demonstrating leadership by creating and implementing clean-diesel programs in Northwest Indiana and beyond. SSCC is a nonprofit organization that has forged many partnerships in the area. It has organized and contributed to more than 30 outreach events, retrofitted 35 school buses and seven other locally owned vehicles, and created a Web site and an anti-idling print, radio and Web campaign that reached thousands of Indiana residents.

Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services serves as a model for what local communities can do to affect voluntary emission reductions and clean the air in their communities. The department started the Southwest Ohio Clean Diesel Campaign in 2003, which continues today. It has partnered with public and private sector organizations, and since 2004 the department has retrofitted 265 buses and is on its way to meeting its goal of retrofitting 800 school buses.

Marten Transport Ltd. is a trucking company with a fleet of about 2,200 vehicles. The company's goal is to retrofit its entire fleet with auxiliary power units to reduce whole-engine idling in 18 months starting in June 2007. The project will save more than four million gallons of fuel a year and cut air pollution. So far, 800 vehicles have been retrofitted.

A special recognition award went to the Ohio Environmental Council, a founding member of the MCDI Leadership Group, for its efforts in helping to create the group as well as its leadership in reducing diesel emissions in Ohio. Across the state, OEC is working with school districts to secure funding and to implement retrofit, refueling, repowering, replacement and idle-reduction projects. So far OEC has helped bring more than $1.5 million to reduce Ohio school bus emissions. It is working with 17 school districts in the Canton-Massillon areas and with eight school districts in the Columbus area.

The MCDI Leadership Group consists of 33 public-sector and private industry organizations that share the goal of cutting emissions from one million diesel engines in EPA Region 5 by 2010. The group is co-chaired by Cummins Inc., Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, American Lung Association-Upper Midwest and EPA Region 5.

EPA created the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative to reduce emissions from older, existing diesel engines not covered by EPA's stringent standards for cleaner fuels and new, cleaner engines. MCDI estimates that more than 3 million diesel engines in the Midwest would benefit from the use of cleaner fuels and idle-reduction and diesel-retrofit technologies and strategies. These include rebuilding, repowering, replacing, refueling and retrofitting these engines with emission control devices. Already, the public-private partnership has undertaken more than $69 million in projects, affecting 365,000 engines, and reducing air pollution by more than 7 million pounds per year.

Diesel emissions contain large amounts of nitrogen oxides and fine particles (soot). Nitrogen oxides are precursors of ozone (smog), which is a lung irritant, and fine particles can aggravate respiratory and heart diseases. EPA has found that fine particles from diesel engines are a leading public health risk in the Midwest.

More information on the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative and the MCDI Leadership Group is at http://www.epa.gov/midwestcleandiesel/.

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