Environmental Defense Welcomes EPA Announcement of Cleaner Diesel Fuel That Will Provide Healthier Air for America

Environmental Defense praised the October 10th announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that so-called "ultra low sulfur diesel fuel" would be available as of October 15th at retail locations nationwide because it will clear the way for far-reaching human health benefits (see www.epa.gov/otaq/diesel). In addition to applauding EPA's leadership today, Environmental Defense called on the EPA to fulfill its overdue commitment to strengthen clean air standards for new diesel locomotives and marine engines that would reduce dangerous particulate pollution and smog-forming nitrogen oxides. Diesel exhaust is one of the most hazardous of all airborne contaminants, and is responsible for more cancer risk than any other single air pollutant.

The "ultra low sulfur diesel fuel" would dramatically reduce the sulfur content in diesel fuel from the pre-existing standard of 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million. It will cut sulfur dioxide pollution from diesel engines on the road today and enable state-of-the-art diesel engine technology for new diesel buses and freight trucks manufactured in model year 2007 to lower soot and smog-forming pollution.

"Delivering low sulfur diesel fuel to the pump will pave the way for cleaner school buses and freight trucks that make the air safer to breathe," said Environmental Defense senior attorney Vickie Patton. "We urge EPA to complete its important work securing cleaner diesel engines for America by lowering the harmful soot and smog from diesel locomotives and ships."

In 2004, EPA established new low sulfur diesel fuel requirements for ships and locomotives, and committed to propose new companion cleaner diesel engine standards to lower particulate pollution and oxides of nitrogen by mid-2005.

A major new private sector study shows pollution control technology used on both new and retrofitted diesel trains and ships could cut emissions of dangerous air pollution by up to 85% or more. The technology already is used in heavy-duty trucks, buses, and non-road machinery such as construction or mining equipment, and is reducing emissions of the same harmful contaminants

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