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EPA Chief Helps Kick-Start $1.475 Million in Diesel Reduction Projects

Release Date: 9/30/2004
Contact Information: Peter Murchie
(206) 553-6554

September 30, 2004

Eugene project kicks off West Coast-wide diesel initiative

At an event in Eugene this morning, Michael O. Leavitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency helped kick-off the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority’s announcement of $1.475 million in diesel emission reductions investments for Oregon. The EPA is contributing $600,000 to these efforts.

photo of EPA Administrator Leavitt announcing partnership and grant The projects will fund efforts to reduce emissions from idling trucks up and down Oregon’s I-5 corridor, retrofit school buses throughout the state, and improve accessibility and affordability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. truck-idling reduction to school bus retrofits infrastructure to purchase, install and maintain small auxiliary engines that use up to 90 percent less diesel and emit 75 percent less air pollution than idling trucks. Trucks stop will eventually benefit from the project.

Leavitt was joined by Lane County Commissioner Peter Sorenson, Oregon State Senator Bill Morrisette, and Michael Grainey, Director of the Oregon Department of Energy. The event also helped kick-off efforts of the EPA and a consortium of government agencies, non-profits and businesses to reduce dangerous diesel emissions from trucks, ships, locomotives and other diesel sources along the West Coast.

The consortium, collectively known as the West Coast Diesel Emissions Reductions Collaborative ("Collaborative"), includes representatives of the governments of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, state and local governments, and the non-profit and private sector from California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia.

The West Coast's numerous diesel sources – trucks, buses, ships and boats, locomotives, agricultural equipment, construction equipment and generators – expose West Coast residents to extremely unhealthy air. Some estimates suggest that up to 85 percent of the lifetime cancer risk citizens face from air toxins comes from diesel emissions. These emissions also contribute to unhealthy levels of fine particles and ozone, or smog. Fine particles have been associated with an increased risk of premature mortality, hospital admissions for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and other adverse effects.

photo of partners examining diesel truck The EPA's new national diesel regulations dramatically reduce emissions from trucks, trains, construction and agricultural equipment, large-scale diesel generators, and marine vessels. When fully implemented, these new rules will reduce diesel emissions up to 99 percent. However, unlike other areas of the country, along the West Coast diesel emissions are the primary air pollutants of concern for regulators and health professionals.

The Collaborative builds on diesel emissions reductions targets in the EPA's on-road and non-road rules, and the success of EPA's Clean School Bus USA Initiative, California's Carl Moyer Clean Engine Incentive Program, Washington's Diesel Solutions Program, Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit Program, and other voluntary emissions reductions programs. Many diesel emission reduction technologies can reduce emissions of fine particles and other pollution by over 90 percent. The ultimate goal of the Collaborative is to secure $100 million to promote voluntary efforts to reduce diesel emissions in California, Oregon and Washington further and sooner than the EPA's new, stringent national diesel rules mandate.

“Tomorrow represents the beginning of Children's Health month, which is especially relevant today as we embark on our truly collaborative efforts to reduce diesel emissions, said Leavitt. “Every time I hear the statistics – 250,000 Oregonians suffer from asthma, with over 40,000 being children under the age of 18 -- I am reminded of what a gift it is to breathe freely.

“Our efforts together represent one of the most important opportunities to achieve rapid and cost-effective health and environmental benefits on the West Coast.”

photo of cruise ship A total of eight grants were announced today along the West Coast, totaling over $10 million in funding from federal, state, local, non-profits and industry groups. In Oregon, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles, several state and federal government agencies, along with numerous industry partners, are announcing similar idle-reduction projects which will enable truck operators to use electrical energy rather than idling their diesel engines to run in-truck appliances such as air conditioners and microwave ovens.

Following are descriptions of other projects being announced today as part of the Collaborative:
  • At a Portland, Oregon event hosted by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, the EPA helped kick-off the Collaborative with a $200,000 grant to Oregon State University from its SmartWay Transport Partnershipto initiate a $6 million investment - most from the Climate Trust -- in truck idle reduction equipment up and down Oregon's I-5 corridor.
  • In Seattle, Princess Tours and the Port of Seattle announced a proposed $1.8 million shore power project. By hooking two cruise ships, the Diamond Princess and the Sapphire Princess, up to the Seattle electric grid, this project will reduce more than 35% of the cruise ship traffic in downtown Seattle to zero air emissions while "hotelling" at dock.
  • The Washington Department of Ecology has received $100,000 in funding through the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership for the I-5 Corridor Truck Idle Reduction Initiative. The Climate Trust will also be adding $200,000 to this project.
  • In Los Angeles, the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership in support of a West Coast I-5 Corridor Truck Idle Reduction Initiative has awarded the South Coast Air Quality Management District a $100,000 grant to electrify truck stops. The South Coast Air District will match the EPA's funds.
  • In Bakersfield, the EPA and San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District announced a $75,000 grant that will allow Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company and Union Pacific Railroad to retrofit several switcher locomotives in the San Joaquin Valley. Each company will contribute $75,000 to install technology that switches engines off when they are not needed to reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and diesel particulate emissions. The project will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions approximately 2.5 tons annually.
  • In Sacramento, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the Electric Power Research Institute, the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership, Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the California Energy Commission, the Department of Energy and numerous industry partners are combining a total of $532,000 to install battery and grid powered electric air conditioners into trucks and electrification infrastructure at truck stops. The alternate power enables truck operators to use electrical energy for in-truck appliances like air conditioners and microwave ovens, instead of idling during rest periods.
  • In San Diego, the EPA has awarded the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District $150,000 for a diesel emissions reduction demonstration project. The project will investigate the costs and effectiveness of diesel retrofit technologies on heavy-duty diesel vehicles that operate in the San Diego-Tijuana region.

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