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U.S. EPA, California agencies showcase “greener” tractors, bulldozers / New cleaner off road equipment will improve air quality, save lives

Release Date: 01/05/2009
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute (213) 244 1815

LOS ANGELES - Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District met today at the Puente Hills Landfill to showcase cleaner burning tractors, bulldozers and other earth moving equipment that is ahead of schedule in meeting the state’s new, stringent diesel emissions standards.

The state’s estimated 180,000 pieces of off road equipment emit nearly as much smog-forming and fine particle pollution as the one million diesel trucks that ARB recently adopted regulations for.

“This equipment is no longer just moving earth--it's moving California toward better air quality," said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest region. “And with the $1 million we're giving to the South Coast Air Quality Management District to clean up 700 heavy duty trucks, more and more vehicles will be driving toward a future of cleaner air.”

“ARB's first-in-the nation standards are driving businesses to invest in advanced technologies to clean our air and save the planet," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "Even heavy duty off road equipment can be part of the solution."

“It cannot be overstated how this new regulation will help us in preventing air pollution-related health problems for residents of our region,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “Speeding up the transition to cleaner off-road equipment is key in our efforts to protect public health.”

The funding for the equipment highlighted today resulted from enforcement actions that the U.S. EPA took against Chevron, Valero, Cosmed and ARCO for violations at their California facilities. As part of their settlement, these companies agreed to use funds that otherwise would have been paid as penalties to conduct environmental projects that directly benefit the community where the violations occurred.

The ARB adopted a precedent-setting regulation in 2007 that will reduce toxic and cancer-causing diesel emissions from the state's estimated 180,000 off road vehicles used in construction, mining, airport ground support and other industries. The regulation requires the installation of diesel soot filters and encourages the replacement of older, dirtier engines with newer emission-controlled models. By 2020, diesel particulate matter will be reduced by 74 percent and smog forming oxides of nitrogen by 32 percent, compared to what emissions would be without the regulation.

Diesel particulate matter, or diesel "soot," was identified as a toxic air contaminant in 1998. According to ARB estimates, over its course, this rule will prevent at least 4,000 premature deaths statewide over the course of the regulation and avoid $18 - 26 billion in premature death and health costs.

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