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EPA Holds Workshop to Cut Diesel Pollution From Northeast Ports -- Workshop Part of Larger Effort to Control Diesel Pollution

Release Date: 02/01/2006
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(#06011) NEW YORK -- In an effort to slash tons of diesel pollution from ports throughout the Northeast, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a ports workshop in New York City. The workshop brings togther key public and private port interests to find cost-effective, business savvy strategies for reducing diesel emissions from everything from cranes to trains and more. It is part of a broader effort to control diesel pollution from all sources through a new initiative: The Northeast Diesel Collaborative is a partnership of EPA; private, non-profit and government groups in New York, New Jersey and the six New England states that are working to fight air pollution. The collaborative aims to expand and develop regional partnerships to reduce diesel emissions and protect public health.

"We have consistently identified diesel emissions as a significant source of pollution and a risk to public health," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. "The ports workshop provides a terrific opportunity to share how we reduce diesel emissions and adopt new technologies for cleaner diesel. By working together, the Northeast Diesel Collaborative enables us to maximize our resources and amplify this vital message in the region."

Today's workshop is a first of its kind in the Northeast. Conference topics include technical approaches to diesel reduction, best business practices and leveraging funding through grants and partnerships. The New York City metropolitan area is in non-attainment for ozone and fine particulate matter. Fine particle pollution is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. Particulate matter or PM refers to particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Particles can be suspended in the air for long periods of time. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small that individually they can only be detected with a microscope. They come from a variety of sources such as cars, trucks, buses, factories, construction sites, tilled fields, unpaved roads and burning of wood.

The Collaborative builds upon a decade of success by its partners in reducing diesel emissions through innovative, first-in-the-nation pilot projects, laws, voluntary measures, and mandatory programs targeting the primary sectors contributing to diesel emissions in the Northeast such as on-road vehicles, construction, marine and rail sources.

Working at both the local and regional levels, the Northeast Diesel Collaborative and its partners address the problem of diesel emissions using a variety of strategies, including: public education; linking and expanding the scope of existing programs; creating new partnerships, programs, regulations, and agreements to reduce emissions; and demonstrating new technologies. Some of the Northeast Diesel Collaborative's specific activities include: retrofitting, retiring, and replacing polluting engines, electrifying truck stops to enable truckers to shut down their engines, creating and enforcing measures to reduce engine idling, and measuring and assessing the effectiveness of diesel control activities.

The Northeast has served as both laboratory and proving ground for clean diesel innovation over the past 10 years: Accomplishments to date include:

  • First truck stop electrification: Hunts Point market, New York City.
  • First use of pollution control technology (selective catalytic reduction (SCR)) on ferries in the Northeast.
  • First locomotive retrofit (diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC)) on the MBTA commuter rail in Massachusetts.
  • New York City Sanitation Department retrofitting 250 vehicles.
Emissions from diesel engines are a primary source of air pollution in the northeastern United States. They pose a significant risk to public health, and impose a high cost on society. Twenty-five counties in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York fail to meet the health-based air quality standard for fine particles, and other urban areas in the Northeast only narrowly meet the standard. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states and rates near 15 percent in areas of New York City.

To get more information on the Northeast Clean Diesel Collaborative, visit:
http://www.northeastdiesel.org. To learn more about EPA's efforts to improve air quality in New York and New Jersey air quality, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02.