EPA ANNOUNCES NEW CLEAN DIESEL PROGRAMS - Mitch Perry

05/14/04

Earlier this week, the Bush Administration announced new regulations that will significantly reduce emissions from tractors, bulldozers, locomotives, barges and other Non-road vehicles propelled by diesel fuel that, altogether, spew more soot than the nation's entire fleet of cars, trucks and buses.

The new regulations require refineries to produce cleaner-burning diesel fuel and and engine makers to cut diesel emissions by more than 90 percent, a reduction that health experts say could prevent as many as 12,000 premature deaths and 15,000 heart attacks every year.

Yesterday in Tampa's Ballast Point Park, Jeff Holmstead, the Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, spoke about the new rules (roll tape#1 o.q."all diesel engines")

The goal of the new standards is to lower the sulfur content of diesel fuel that is used in engines as large as 6,000 horsepower. Sulfur leads to more particulate matter - known as soot - into the atmosphere.

The rule will require diesel fuel be made sulfur free by 2010..2 significant benefits, Jeff Holmstedt says (roll tape#2 .o.q."a thing of the past")

Environmentalists have reacted with enthusiasm towards the EPA's directive, one of the few times that's been the case in the George W. Bush administration

(roll tape#3 o.q."one step back")

Holly Binns is the Clean Air Advocate for the Florida Public Interest Research Group......She elaborates on why this recent action doesn't cancel out other moves by the Bush EPA that she says have been detrimental to the environment (roll tape#4 o.q."which is just absurd")

Nevertheless, the EPA's Jeff Holmsteadt said such improvements in air quality happen only once in a generation (roll tape#5 o.q."Air pollution issues")

Rick Garrity is the Director of the Environmental Protection Commission for Hillsborough County. He appreciates the new rules, but says the County's Air quality is now considered good because of other Federal rules (roll tape#6

o.q. " in an attainable status")

The New York Times reported that progress towards the new regulations came about thru a variety of factors, including a willingness of refineries and engine-makers to bear the large costs of improvement in exchange for a longer phase-in period,AND a realization by environmental groups that the new standards will have a substantial health benefit, EVEN if they take some years to implement.

FPIRG"s Holly Binns says such compromises are necessary to accomplish good environmental policy (roll tape#7 o.q."as well")

The EPA says that currently, there are about 6 million pieces of nonroad diesel equipment are in use in the U.S......Based on average expected equipment lifetime, this entire inventory should be upgraded by the year 2030.

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