Environmental Defense Takes Legal Action To Clean Up Diesel Pollution

On August 11th, Environmental Defense filed legal and administrative actions against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health from dangerous diesel air pollution. Diesel engine exhaust is among the most dangerous and pervasive sources of air pollution and is widely recognized as a probable human carcinogen. EPA has established rigorous emission standards for diesel trucks and buses, but none to protect the public from stationary diesel engine pollution, such as electrical generators. Environmental Defense is taking action to ensure that stationary diesel engines also are required to meet protective emission standards.

"EPA's diesel double standard is a hazard to public health; the agency must address this dangerous diesel loophole," said Dr. John Balbus, Environmental Defense health program director. "Environmental Defense is taking legal action today because diesel air pollution makes the biggest contribution to cancer risk of any toxic air contaminant."

"We can protect public health through sensible, cost-effective measures that address the hazardous high-polluting diesel generators that have long been overlooked," said Vickie Patton, Environmental Defense senior attorney.

Stationary diesel engines include generators increasingly providing prime and backup sources of electrical power. California estimates there are more than 16,000 stationary and portable diesel-fueled engines in the state and that 11,300 of these are used for backup power. An Environmental Defense California study found that in the South Coast, San Diego, San Joaquin, and Sacramento areas alone, 150,000 children attend school in zones with high pollution risk due to the operation of backup diesel generators. Northeastern states recently estimated that there are 33,678 stationary diesel generators in the eight-state Northeast region.

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