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Boston-based Bus Company Faces Penalty for Diesel Emission Idling Violations

Release Date: 12/28/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 28, 2006) – A Boston-based transportation company, Paul Revere Transportation LLC, is facing federal penalties for repeat violations of illegal idling of diesel buses at the company’s Roxbury, Mass. bus yard and at a shuttle bus location on Brookline Ave. in Boston.

The action is the subject of a complaint filed jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the U.S. EPA in federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Paul Revere Transportation, LLC (“PRT”). The company maintains approximately 40 motor vehicles at its Roxbury bus yard, and owns and operates a total of approximately 150 vehicles throughout the Commonwealth.

“Given the extremely high asthma rates in Roxbury, it is unacceptable that diesel buses and other vehicles are left idling for more than an hour at a time,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Diesel pollution is very harmful, especially for sensitive populations such as the young, elderly and people who suffer from asthma. It is critical for the health of the surrounding community that companies like PRT comply with the anti-idling law.”

EPA first learned of the violations during weekly inspections in April and March, 2006. Follow-up inquiries made by EPA suggest that the violations may have been ongoing at the bus yard for several years. On every day during EPA’s inspections of the bus yard, numerous PRT vehicles, sometimes more than 20 at one time, were seen idling in the very early morning, sometimes for more than an hour, and, in one instance, for more than two hours. During the course of eight separate inspections, EPA witnessed over 100 hours of illegal idling. Massachusetts’ law limits idling to no more than five minutes.

This is not the first time that EPA has discovered idling violations involving PRT’s vehicles. In 2002, EPA fined PRT for illegal idling of its shuttle buses at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Diesel emissions contribute to a number of serious air pollution problems such as smog, acid rain and increased carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. Diesel exhaust contains fine particles that can cause lung damage and aggravate respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Based upon human and laboratory studies, there is also considerable evidence that diesel exhaust is a likely carcinogen.

Over the last several years, EPA has worked aggressively with the six New England states to implement anti-idling programs, with a particular emphasis on school buses. EPA’s inspections of transportation facilities are part of a region-wide effort by EPA, in partnership with the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection and the City of Boston, to curb diesel air emissions, particularly in inner city neighborhoods where diesel air pollution and asthma rates are substantially higher than in other parts of Massachusetts.

State and federal authorities are stepping up their enforcement of the Massachusetts idling regulation to reduce pollution from diesel exhaust. The Massachusetts anti-idling regulation prohibits the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while the vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time in excess of five minutes.

In New England, diesel engines are the third largest human-made source of fine particles, contributing more than 20 percent of fine particle emissions. Children are more sensitive to air pollution because they breathe 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults. Recent studies have found a strong correlation between exposure to diesel exhaust and impaired lung growth in children.

More information: Diesel exhaust and anti-idling guidelines in New England (epa.gov/ne/eco/diesel)

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