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FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT GIVES EPA THE GO-AHEAD TO MAKE DIESEL TRUCKS RUN CLEANER

Release Date: 05/03/2002
Contact Information:



Environmental News

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2002

FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT GIVES EPA THE GO-AHEAD
TO MAKE DIESEL TRUCKS RUN CLEANER

Contact: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824 / milbourn.cathy@epa.gov


The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld EPA’s rule to make heavy-duty trucks and buses run cleaner. The regulation requires reduced emissions from diesel trucks and buses and lower sulfur level in diesel fuel.

“One of the Bush Administration’s first actions was to move this rule forward without delay,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "We applaud the court’s decision to uphold such an important program. Now all Americans will receive significant health and environmental benefits from the dramatic cuts in air pollution released from these large trucks and buses. We estimate that some 8,300 premature deaths, 5,500 cases of chronic bronchitis and 17,600 cases of acute bronchitis in children will also be prevented annually,” Whitman added.

"Today's decision clears the way for a new generation of less-polluting trucks and buses on our nation's streets and highways,” said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's
Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The court’s opinion ratifies EPA's conclusions that dramatic reductions in the emission of pollutants are technologically feasible.”

The court rejected all arguments raised by the petitioners, including claims that the advanced after-treatment technology would not be available. The court also rejected claims that the level of sulfur control to 15 parts per million required by the rule was not needed to enable this technology and that it would result in supply shortfalls of diesel fuel.

Beginning with model year 2007, emissions from heavy duty diesel trucks and buses will be reduced by 95 percent. Sulfur in diesel fuel must be lowered to enable modern pollution-control technology to be effective on these trucks and buses. The program requires a 97 percent reduction in the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel from its current level of 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million.

The use of advanced after-treatment technology similar to catalytic converters used on cars today will be installed to achieve the cleaner emission standards. Reduced levels of sulfur in diesel fuel are needed to facilitate the introduction of this technology.

When the rule is fully implemented, 2.6 million tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced each year. Soot or particulate matter will be reduced by 110,000 tons a year. It is estimated that more than 360,000 asthma attacks and 386,000 cases of respiratory symptoms in asthmatic children will be avoided every year. In addition, 1.5 million lost work days, 7,100 hospital visits and 2,400 emergency room visits for asthma will be prevented.

The court’s opinion is available at http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/common/opinions/200205/01-1052a.txt. Information on this rule and other diesel programs are at http://www.epa.gov/otaq.

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