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U.S./Canada Border Areas

There are multiple U.S./Canadian border crossing areas in Region 5 extending around eastern Michigan and northern Minnesota. Due to elevated security concerns, personnel working at border crossings have noticed increased wait times for trucks, buses and passenger vehicles. That can contribute to diesel emission concerns. In addition, municipalities around these border areas are especially interested in further reducing the impact from diesel emissions in their own fleet of vehicles and other diesel engines that operate in their communities.


The southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario region represents the busiest corridor for trade between Canada and the United States. International border crossings in this area occur via: the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor; the Detroit - Windsor Tunnel; the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron, Mich. and Sarnia, Ont.; two railroad tunnels; and a ferry that carries trucks across the Detroit River.

The amount of vehicles traveling across the border, coupled with long delays at border crossing facilities, may be contributing to air quality issues like ozone, particulate matter and air toxic pollutants. While other factors contribute to poor air quality in the area, vehicles with diesel engines are of particular interest to the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative (MCDI). Forecasts indicate that cross-border passenger and truck traffic will increase by approximately 40 and 120 percent by 2030, respectively.

Both southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario are highly populated urban areas, and with the amount of traffic that supports these urban areas, reducing diesel emissions from local sources is also important. From municipal fleet vehicles, like garbage trucks and street sweepers as well as school buses, to the diesel engines supporting industrial facilities in the production and movement of goods, a large range of vehicle types besides the trucks and buses waiting at international crossings impact the air quality around the border areas. Border area communities support reducing diesel emissions from a variety of on-road and non-road engines, all of which would improve air quality in the region.

MCDI's goals for the U.S./Canadian Border Focus are as follows:


  1. Current: To reduce mobile-source diesel emissions at and around the U.S./Canadian Border near the population centers of Detroit, Windsor, Port Huron, and Sarnia.
  2. Future Goal: Once successful emission reduction strategies and programs are developed in the southeast Michigan/southwest Ontario corridor, focus will include expanding the efforts to border crossing areas in Minnesota and Ontario/Manitoba as well as Sault Ste. Marie.

Meeting our Goal:
How will this occur? Primarily by working with stakeholders on both sides of the border to help identify and implement diesel emission reduction projects in the border-crossing communities.
These reduction projects may include:

The Border Air Quality Strategy (BAQ Strategy)- Great Lakes Basin Airshed Management Framework Pilot Project (PDF, 66 pgs., 829 K About PDF)described many prior and current diesel reduction projects in the"Voluntary/Early Action Workgroup Report" (V/EA). These reduction projects were supported by representatives of the federal, state/provincial and local agencies that participated in the development of the BAQ Strategy. One "Opportunity for Cooperation" as identified in the V/EA Report was the "…potential for additional demonstration/pilots, such as diesel retrofits with school buses, transit and garbage trucks; anti-idling; biodiesel; etc.".

Diesel Emission Reduction Opportunities:

Idling Reduction Projects - On September 14, 2005 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership and Natural Resources Canada FleetSmart programs to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in freight operations. A fact sheet is available on this event along with a copy of the MOU Exit EPA Disclaimer .

Pilot projects around border crossing areas will focus on meeting MOU objectives through idling management practices and technologies and installation of aerodynamic or other fuel efficiency technologies.

Retrofit Installation and Cleaner Fuels Projects - Installing retrofit technologies and using cleaner fuels, as highlighted by the V/EA ReportExit EPA Disclaimer , are a major interest to municipalities around border areas. We will continue to support cross-border communities in their efforts to reduce diesel emissions through the use of verified retrofit technologies and fuels.

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