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Smartway Air Quality Event, Chicago, Illinois

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
SmartWay Air Quality Event
Chicago, Illinois

January 10, 2003

Thank you Tom (Skinner) for that introduction.

It = s great to be here today in Chicago as we celebrate the launch of an exciting new partnership B the SmartWay Transport program.

Freight transport is an important part of our economy in America, and one we all benefitted from during the recent holiday season.

From ordering merchandise off the Internet to finding any type of produce we could want in the grocery store, it = s easy to take for granted the freight transportation system that makes this all possible.

Trucks and railroads are an important resource for both businesses and consumers, accounting for 90% of the total value and 84% of the total weight of U.S. cargo.

Unfortunately, the trucks and locomotives that move this cargo so efficiently are a significant source of emissions that create smog and harm our health and environment.

Ground freight accounts for 36% of nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions from the transportation sector, which contribute to acid rain and the formation of ground-level ozone B triggers for respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis.

In addition, trucks and locomotives are also responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, which can also aggravate respiratory illnesses.

Right here in Chicago, truck emissions account for almost 45% of NOX emissions and 28% of greenhouse gases from transportation sources.

The SmartWay program will have an important impact on helping Chicago and other metropolitan areas reduce these emissions.

Our goal at EPA is to make sure that while we continue to meet our freight transportation needs, we also remain good environmental stewards.

Already, EPA has worked with industry partners to address this problem by developing clean vehicle technologies.

In addition, after working with industry, states, and the public, EPA recently passed a new vehicle and fuel standards rule that will reduce emissions from new diesel-powered trucks by 90%.

Despite this progress, there is still more that can be done, and the SmartWay Transport program is an important new tool in our efforts to reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality.

SmartWay is a voluntary partnership between EPA and industry leaders designed to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve environmental performance of the freight sector.

Over the next few months, EPA will work with our 13 Charter Partners to develop and refine company specific emissions goals and identify cost-effective fuel savings strategies.

Our goal is to achieve by 2012 annual reductions of up to 18 million metric tons of carbon, and up to 200,000 tons of NOX, which will save 150 million barrels of oil a year and is equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road.

To ensure that SmartWay achieves this goal, EPA will provide additional support to new and emerging freight technologies.

With that in mind, we recently announced a $200,000 grant competition to encourage the non-profit sector in developing creative projects that reduce truck emissions.

Today, we are fortunate to have on display many of the current technological resources, such as anti-idling devices, particulate matter filters, and electrical conversion kits for truck cabs, that are already available to help us in reaching our goals.

However, it will take more than technology to improve our air, it will take the commitment and willingness of partners, such as those we celebrate today, who choose to do what = s right for the environment.

The President and I both know that building successful partnerships such as these is vital if we are to realize our environmental goals. I want to thank all of our Charter Partners for your leadership in this effort, and for setting a positive example for other companies to follow.

I look forward to working with you in the months ahead.

Just as we take for granted being able to ship and get anything we want, it is easy to take our air for granted as well. Clean air is something that we all want and something which we have to all work together to achieve.

With efforts such as those we celebrate today, I know that we are making significant strides towards providing cleaner air for this and future generations. Thank you.