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Partnership of Northeast Gov't, Private and Non-profit Orgs Honors Groups for Reducing Air Pollution

Release Date: 05/03/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017 (New England); Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664 (NY, NJ, Puerto Rico)

(Boston, Mass. – May 3, 2011) -The Northeast Diesel Collaborative – a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state agencies, and private and non-profit groups – recently recognized six organizations for their exemplary work to reduce toxic diesel emissions. Honors were given to agencies and organizations from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Maine, and Puerto Rico as part of the newly created Northeast Diesel Collaborative Breathe Easy Recognition Program. The collaborative, which includes the six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is working to reduce diesel emissions, improve public health, and promote clean diesel technology. It brings together the collective resources and expertise of EPA, several state environmental agencies and private sector companies to address emissions from existing diesel-powered vehicles and equipment. 

“Diesel pollution is linked to asthma, decreased lung function, heart attacks and even premature death, and is especially dangerous to children and the elderly,” said Judith Enck, EPA Region 2 Administrator. “Diesel engines emit large amounts of air pollution and the organizations recognized today are helping to reduce air pollution and provide cleaner air for everyone.” 

“Diesel emissions in the northeast continue to pose health risks to the residents of the region.  The efforts put forth by the 2010 award winners to mitigate these emissions are truly inspirational and well deserving of recognition,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. 

The Northeast Diesel Collaborative Breathe Easy Recognitions are given for outstanding service in reducing air pollution to protect human health and the environment.  Recognition is given in two categories: “Achievement” and “Leadership.”

The “Achievement Award” is given to the groups that have taken the most noteworthy steps to reduce diesel emissions beyond what is required by law in their communities. The “Leadership Award” is given to the individual or organization whose actions best reflect the goals of the collaborative, including the retrofit and replacement of older diesel engines, the reduction of idling from diesel engines, the creation of education and outreach opportunities for diesel emission reduction strategies, and the promotion of cleaner fuels above and beyond local, state and federal requirements.

Leadership Award:

Lynne Cayting, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP)
Lynne Cayting has been a leader in reducing diesel emissions for the state of Maine through her management of federally funded grants awarded to ME DEP.  “The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act funds have supported Maine’s Clean Diesel Programs to reduce emissions from school buses, fishing boats, construction equipment, and municipal vehicles,” Lynne stated, adding that ME DEP’s actions “have made a significant contribution to the reduction of harmful diesel particulate.”

New Hampshire School Transportation Association (NHSTA)
In 2002, NHSTA partnered with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) to launch their Idling Reduction Campaign, which has resulted in extensive and on-going outreach and education to thousands of school bus managers and drivers throughout New Hampshire. “DES commends the NHSTA on receiving the NEDC Breathe Easy Leadership Award. The partnership DES and NHSTA formed has brought greater recognition to the DES Clean School Bus Initiative and has enabled us to better protect school children and bus drivers from exposure to harmful diesel exhaust emissions,” stated DES Commissioner Tom Burack.

Puerto Rico Clean School Bus Initiative

The Puerto Rico Clean School Bus Initiative has the primary goal of protecting people’s health by reducing diesel pollution from school buses, and increasing the environmental awareness of bus drivers and owners. “For our agency, the Puerto Rico Clean School Bus Initiative is an achievement for our people’s health and for the protection of our environment,” stated Pedro Nieves Miranda, President of the Environmental Quality Board. “Our goals were achieved, and we were able to work towards protecting the health of our people by reducing the risk of exposure to toxic air pollutants from emissions from school buses. We were able to modify public transportation to improve air quality and to set the standards that will enable us to verify emission reductions throughout the island. The satisfaction of attaining the NEDC Breathe Easy Leadership Award is the best stimulus to keep on going.”

Achievement Award:

Municipal Diesel Engine Retrofit Program, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)
Over the past two years, the MassDEP's Municipal Diesel Engine Retrofit Program implemented three statewide municipal retrofit programs, resulting in retrofits of 169 on-road and non-road engines. “A primary focus of MassDEP’s diesel reduction efforts is to reduce harmful emissions in areas and neighborhoods where the majority of people live and breathe,” MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell said. “By working closely with our municipal partners, we have been able to ensure cleaner construction vehicles, school buses, and waste collection vehicles, improving the quality of life for millions of citizens across the Commonwealth.” The program has successfully encouraged 38 municipalities and regional school districts to apply for retrofits for their construction equipment, school buses and waste collection vehicles.  Including the populations of the municipalities feeding into the regional school districts, approximately 1.57 million people in 86 communities will be exposed to fewer emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter as a result of these municipal initiatives. 

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
NYSERDA has advanced diesel emission reduction efforts by conducting extensive air quality and health research, evaluating  new and under-utilized diesel emission reduction technologies, and helping deploy diesel emission retrofits and low emission vehicles.  Over the past two years, NYSERDA has completed dozens of research projects, helped retrofit more than 800 pieces of diesel equipment with pollution control equipment, and helped provide more than 500 low emission vehicles to our partners. “As a leader in the development and deployment of alternative fuels and technologies that help reduce diesel emissions, improve public health, and strengthen the economy, NYSERDA is proud to receive the 2010 NEDC Breathe Easy Leadership Award,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “We especially thank  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and our public and private partners for their work and partnership to improve air quality throughout New York State.”

Diesel Risk Reduction Program, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP)
NJDEP’s Diesel Risk Reduction Program has taken many steps to cut diesel pollution, including expanding  its anti-idling outreach, providing a plug-in power for trucks at truck stops  and putting new equipment on  a great number of trucks, port equipment and construction vehicles throughout the state of New Jersey.  NJ DEP Commissioner Bob Martin: "Improving air quality is one of the priorities of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the DEP,'' said New Jersey DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.”In our densely populated state, diesel emissions cause serious health risks for our residents, but the state's Diesel Risk Reduction Program has focused resources on the State's need to reduce diesel emissions, making New Jersey a national leader in cleaner air and better public health. Governor Christie also recently signed an Executive Order for a pilot project to retrofit diesel-powered construction equipment to reduce emissions." Peg Hanna, NJ's DEP's Diesel Air Quality Program Manager, said "We have implemented model programs for idling reductions, with more than 10,000 No Idling Zone signs installed; enabled idling alternatives for truck and locomotive drivers; obtained federal funds for the installation of several hundred diesel retrofits on construction equipment; and developed an anti idling program for schools. These programs are making a real difference in improving air quality in our communities."

More information:

To learn more about this announcement, visit: http://www.northeastdiesel.org

To learn more about EPA Region 1 (New England), visit: http://www.epa.gov/region1/newsevents

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