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Bush Administration Proposes Dramatic Reductions of Pollution from NonRoad Diesel Engines

Release Date: 04/15/2003
Contact Information:

Contact: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824/

(04/15/03) A proposal to dramatically reduce emissions from nonroad diesel engines used in construction, agricultural and industrial equipment is being announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This comprehensive national program requires stringent nonroad engine controls and reductions of sulfur in diesel fuel — a program that will achieve enormous air quality improvements throughout the country.

“This action represents a strong commitment from the Bush Administration to take the next step to achieve cleaner air and protect the health of all Americans, especially the health of children and elderly who are more susceptible to diesel pollution,” said Administrator Christie Whitman. “Coupled with the 2007 diesel rule for highway trucks and our school bus retrofit program, these actions will be the most far-reaching diesel programs in the world today.”

The proposal announced today would take effect for new engines starting as early as 2008 and be fully phased in by 2014. EPA is proposing to reduce emissions of soot, known as particulate matter (PM), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from today’s engines by more than 90 percent. When fully phased in, annual reductions will be 825,000 tons of NOx and 125,000 tons of PM. For the first time ever, advanced emission control systems will be incorporated into nonroad equipment. The sulfur content of diesel fuel will be dramatically phased down from its current uncontrolled level of 3400 parts per million to 500 parts per million (ppm) beginning in 2007 and then to 15 ppm in 2010 – a 99 percent reduction.

EPA has estimated that by 2030 the nonroad program will, among other benefits, annually prevent over: 9,600 premature deaths, 8,300 hospitalizations, 16,000 heart attacks, 5,700 children’s asthma-related emergency room visits, 260,000 respiratory problems in children and nearly a million work days lost due to illness. (Under an alternative estimate, the nonroad program would deliver annual benefits that include preventing 5,600 premature deaths.)

Nearly 111 million people live in areas that do not meet air quality standards for ground level ozone (smog), and more than 70 million people live an areas that do not meet air quality standards for PM. Nonroad diesel engines contribute significantly to these problems. A typical piece of construction equipment such as a 175 hp bulldozer emits as much NOx and PM as 26 new cars today. EPA estimates that nonroad diesel engines currently account for about 44 percent of diesel PM emissions and about 12 percent of NOx emissions from mobile sources nationwide and in some urban areas the percentage is greater. The nonroad program would significantly help areas across the country reach their clean air goals and improve public health nationwide.

“The 2007 diesel rule for highway trucks and buses, and today’s announcement of a comprehensive nonroad diesel program illustrate the Administration’s commitment to making our air cleaner – for this generation and generations to come,” Whitman concluded.

The public may comment by sending an email to Additional ways to send comments are found in the Federal Register notice. Written comments may be submitted until August 20. Public hearings will be held in New York on June 10, Chicago on June 12, and Los Angeles June 17, 2003. Detailed information about the hearings will be published in the Federal Register. This proposal, related documents and information about the public hearings are available at