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Diesel Announcement Washington, DC

Carol M. Browner, Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency

Remarks Prepared for Delivery
Diesel Announcement
Washington, DC
December 21, 2000

Good morning. Welcome and thank you for coming.

For the past eight years I have had the great honor to work for an Administration -- for a President and Vice President -- who have fought to make the Clean Air a reality for the country.

As Kimberly Harris just shared with us, air pollution is a very real public health threat. No child . . . Tevin -- or any other child in this country . . . should have to miss a day of school . . . or a weekend outdoors . . . because air pollution meant a trip to the emergency room instead.

Anybody who has ever driven behind a large truck or bus knows all too well the foul smell and grimy residue of diesel exhausts.

The cloud that follows is not only dirty . . . smokey . . . cough-inducing . . . it is a real threat to our health and environment: Premature deaths, including cancers, respiratory illness, acid rain and asthma attacks, especially in children like Tevin.

Exactly one year ago, President Clinton announced the toughest passenger vehicle and gasoline pollution standards ever.

Today, on behalf of the Clinton-Gore Administration, I am proud to announce the next step – the first-ever comprehensive standards for diesel fuel and heavy-duty trucks and buses.

These standards will mean that trucks and buses will ultimately be as clean as natural gas buses on our streets today.

First, it requires diesel engines to be ninety five percent cleaner than similar vehicles on the road today . . . the largest reduction in harmful emissions of soot, or particulate matter, ever achieved from cars, trucks and buses.

Second, it requires for the first time ever that buses and trucks be equipped with the same catalytic converters that have been required on cars for twenty five years.

And, third, because cleaner diesel fuel is essential for the proper performance of those catalytic converters, we are cutting sulfur in diesel fuel by ninety seven percent.

In adopting these protections, as we have done through our eight years, we worked closely with all interested parties . . . state officials, public health experts, environmentalists and industry representatives.

The standards we announce today reflect our commitment to tough public health protections . . . flexible common-sense implementation . . . and the needed lead time for industry to get there.

The ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel will be required in 2006. And the tough, new engine-exhaust standards will begin in 2007.

Taken together these actions will lead to dramatically healthier air for all Americans.

Smog-causing nitrogen oxides will be reduced by 2.6 million tons a year. Soot, or fine particles, will be reduced by nearly one hundred and ten thousand tons a year.

The new standards will prevent 8,300 premature deaths, 5,500 cases of chronic bronchitis in adults and seventeen thousand six hundred 17,600 cases of acute bronchitis in children.

They will also prevent the onset of more than 360,000 asthma attacks each year.

The overall effect of these reductions is equivalent to removing the air pollution created by thirteen million of the fourteen million of today’s dirty diesel trucks and buses.

Today, the Clinton Administration builds on its eight-year commitment to strong public health and environmental protections.

Clean air, healthy air for all.