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EPA Seeks Penalties from North Andover Company for Idling Violations

Release Date: 08/25/04
Contact Information:

Contact: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

For Immediate Release: August 25, 2004 Release # 04-08-15

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking penalties totaling $109,120 from Material Installations Inc. for violating the Massachusetts anti-idling regulation. Material Installations is a distributor of pre-manufactured office furniture located in North Andover.

In its complaint filed this month, EPA alleges that between August 2003 and March 2004, furniture delivery trucks illegally idled their diesel engines on-site for close to 1,000 minutes, including two incidents where trucks were left idling for more than an hour. EPA issued a violation notice to the company for the same violations in June 2004.

The Massachusetts anti-idling regulation prohibits idling the engine of any motor vehicle while the vehicle is stopped in excess of five minutes (with exceptions for activities such as maintenance and operating auxiliary equipment such as delivery lifts). Because the regulation is part of state efforts to meet federal air quality standards, it is enforceable by EPA.

“Negative health effects due to excessive truck idling can be severe, especially for adults and children who suffer from asthma which can be triggered by diesel soot pollution,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Companies and public agencies alike need to make sure they are operating their fleets in compliance with anti-idling regulations.”

EPA recently announced its findings that long-term inhalation exposure to diesel exhaust is likely to pose a lung cancer hazard to humans, and that short-term exposure can cause irritation and inflammatory symptoms. In New England, diesel engines are the third largest human-made source of fine particles, contributing more than 20 percent of emissions.

Fine particles can cause lung damage and aggravate respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. 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.

Today’s action is among more than a dozen enforcement cases EPA has taken the past few years in New England to enforce anti-idling regulations.

The Department of Energy estimates that as an industry trucking wastes 900 million gallons of diesel fuel a year due to excessive truck idling. Excessive idling for only one hour a day for a year results in the equivalent of 64,000 miles of engine wear and wastes over 500 gallons of fuel.

Related Information:
Asthma
Diesel Exhaust
Air Enforcement