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Five Counties, City, State and Federal Governments Unite to Clear New York Metro Area Air--Take Major Steps to Reduce Harmful Diesel Pollution

Release Date: 10/12/2006
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664,

Leading the way to cleaner air and healthier communities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has brought the counties of Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester together with New York City, the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to sign an unprecedented agreement detailing the specific projects and innovations they will employ to reduce harmful diesel pollution. EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg, the County Executives of five metropolitan area Counties, New York City and top environmental government leaders entered into the milestone agreement unveiled today in New York City. The innovative and comprehensive agreement presents decisive actions such as retrofitting, retiring and replacing polluting engines, creating cleaner fleets of municipal vehicles, adopting cleaner fuels, designing and enforcing measures to reduce engine idling, and investing in pollution reduction technologies.

    “If all politics are local, so are many sources of air pollution,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “By signing this Statement of Intent and committing to a plan of action, these counties along with New York State and New York City are taking the initiative in combating diesel pollution. President Bush and the EPA are committed to making that black puff of diesel smoke from diesel engines something you only read about in history books.”
      Demonstrating their leadership in environmental stewardship, Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester have all specified their commitments in fighting diesel emissions. The five New York counties’ efforts will reduce diesel emissions, which have been identified by EPA as a contributing factor in respiratory problems, asthma and other ailments. New York City has already employed many of its own measures and has offered to assist the counties in any way that it can. In addition to national regulations aimed at drastically cutting pollution from diesel engines, EPA provides monetary and technical assistance to help local and state entities implement programs designed to slash diesel pollution.
        Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi said, “Nassau County is dedicated to improving air quality and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I am proud to say that Nassau County currently owns 330 buses and 20 sedans that run on ultra-clean compressed natural gas, and will purchase an additional 20 CNG sedans by early next year. In addition, Nassau County will purchase 150,000 gallons of ultra low sulfur bio-diesel next year to provide fuel for 100% of our non-emergency diesel vehicles. Nassau County is well on its way to having one of the most extensive alternative fuel vehicle programs in the country.”
          “My Administration has worked tirelessly to protect the unique environment that distinguishes Putnam County as one of the more beautiful places in the Hudson valley. This agreement can only help to support our efforts in this regard,” said Putnam County Executive Robert J. Bondi.
            ”Rockland County is committed to making a difference when it comes to improving air quality,” said Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. “Many of the commitments we have made in this important agreement are already in action, like the legislation passed earlier this year that requires the County to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles and utilize ultra-low sulfur fuel and particulate traps in our diesel fleet. Other efforts, like strengthening the County’s existing 3-minute idling limit by making it a law, will soon be in place.”
              “As a government we are charged with the responsibility of protecting and preserving the environment which we will hand down to our children and grandchildren,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. “We in Suffolk have already taken great strides to reduce the harmful emissions from our fleet and to pursue alternative, renewable and low-emission sources of energy. We are happy to be a part of this regional approach towards cleaner air.”
                "We in Westchester have been committed to doing our part to reduce the pollutants from diesel engines and we are proud to be part of this regional effort," said County Executive Andrew J. Spano. "We are presently testing four hybrid buses that produce fewer emissions, and based on the results we will determine whether to procure hybrid vehicles for our future Bee-Line bus purchases. In addition, we will continue to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel on these buses and all county vehicles, and we will continue to help our local municipalities and school districts to obtain this ultra-low sulfur fuel for their operations."
                  The New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have also stepped up their efforts in environmental protection, and have committed to helping the counties find ways to fund the ambitious measures they are pursuing.
                    Commissioner Emily Lloyd of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection said, “The Bloomberg administration is very pleased to be able to cooperate with surrounding counties and our federal and state partners to help reduce emissions from diesel equipment. Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the City has dramatically enhanced its diesel emission controls by implementing six local laws that decrease emissions from construction equipment, sightseeing buses, school buses, sanitation trucks and the City’s own fleet of on-road diesel vehicles. We share these goals with the surrounding counties and pledge to work hard for cleaner air for everyone.”
                      "Governor Pataki and the New York State Department of Transportation have long supported programs to protect air quality throughout New York State. This new collaboration will build upon the Department's strong environmental record by improving the air we breath in the New York City metropolitan area," State Department of Transportation Commissioner Thomas J. Madison Jr. said. "This initiative encourages our partners to embrace clean fuel practices and technologies, and will enable NYSDOT and the transportation sector to help significantly reduce diesel emissions."
                        "We strongly support the eligibility of diesel retrofits and other cost-effective emission reduction activities under the congestion mitigation and air quality improvement program (CMAQ) program," said Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Robert Arnold.
                          The New York Metropolitan Air Quality Initiative is a stellar example of the work being done as part of a broader Northeast Diesel Collaborative- an EPA lead partnership of private, non-profit and government groups working together to reduce diesel pollution throughout the Northeast using a variety of strategies, including: public education; linking and expanding the scope of existing programs; creating new partnerships, programs, regulations, and agreements to reduce emissions; and demonstrating new technologies.
                            For the complete text of the agreement and for more information about how to reduce diesel emissions, please visit: and