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U.S. EPA awards $150,000 to Sacramento air district for diesel reduction

Release Date: 2/23/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, 415-947-4307

Photo of EPA Administrator Wayne Nastri presenting a $150,000 grant to Sacramento Metro AQMD after disembarking at the Sacramento train station.  Photo also includes Larry Green, Jeff Starsky, Roger Dickinson, and Wayne Nastri SACRAMENTO -- After disembarking from the 522 Capitol Corridor train on Track 2 of the downtown Sacramento train station this morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, Wayne Nastri, presented the Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District with a $150,000 grant to reduce diesel pollution from commuter locomotives.

The Sacramento AQMD will use the grant, part of the EPA's National Clean Diesel Campaign, to retrofit commuter rail locomotives that run between Sacramento and Oakland. The system installed on two locomotives in this pilot project will reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions. The Cleaire advance emission control system filters particulates and transforms additional pollutants into harmless compounds.

"This voluntary project reduces the risk from air pollution for nearly 20,000 residents who live along this vital train corridor," explained Nastri. "It means that the air district will be able to take 220 tons of diesel air pollution out of the air, a significant air pollution reduction."

"Today, the U.S. EPA joins CalTrans and Amtrak as a major new partner in our efforts to reduce a significant source of pollution in our region," said Jeff Starsky, chair of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District Board of Directors. "Each of these locomotives will reduce more than 3.3 tons of pollutants per year, and this program is critical in helping us reach our air quality goals."

"It has been our long-term goal to reduce freeway traffic and emissions along the capitol corridor, and getting people on trains is an important step to air quality improvement," said Roger Dickinson, chair of the Board of Directors for the Capitol Corridor joint powers authority. "Cleaner engines on the tracks, combined with our high-tech California rail cars, make this convenient and efficient mode of transportation an even more attractive commute option."

The grant presented today in Sacramento is part of $1.6 million that the EPA is giving to 18 agencies in 15 states under the National Clean Diesel Campaign. In addition to the Sacramento grant, a Los Angeles retrofit project will receive a $50,000 grant for a project in Los Angeles that will combine to reduce diesel pollution in California.

By combining more protective emissions standards with the motivation to invest in cleaner engines and diesel fuel sooner, the EPA's Clean Diesel Campaign will reduce millions of tons of diesel air pollution, prevent approximately 21,000 premature deaths and eliminate hundreds of thousands of respiratory illnesses every year. These measures will save the country over $150 billion per year in health costs.

In California, with the worst air quality in the nation, this campaign will help improve respiratory health for all Californians and help the state achieve national clean air standards.

The EPA, Sacramento Air District, CalTrans, Amtrak and Cleaire hope to expand this pilot to 11 additional commuter trains, benefiting 16 rail stations in 8 Northern California counties: Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara.

In addition, this same pool of locomotives will be used to provide a commuter rail service between Oakland and Bakersfield, reducing emissions in the San Joaquin Valley.

As part of the National Clean Diesel Campaign, two U.S. EPA regions the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest convened the West Coast Diesel Emissions Reductions Collaborative in June 2004. The Collaborative, with approximately 500 members, is a broad-based, private-public partnership including California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Mexico and Canada dedicated to reducing emissions from diesel sources all along the West Coast.

Members include federal, state, and local government agencies, vehicle and engine manufacturers and users, petroleum refiners, mitigation technology providers, and environmental and public interest groups.

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