Environmental Protection

ALA Applauds N.Y. Work on Lowering Diesel Emissions

The American Lung Association in New York welcomed the approval of enacting regulations that implement the New York State Diesel Emission Reduction Act of 2006 (DERA).

Approved by the New York State Environmental Board, the regulations specify what engines are covered under the law and what technologies will be acceptable for use in retrofitting old, dirty diesel engines.

"New York continues to lead the nation in the number of deaths and disease caused by diesel exhaust, and today's regulations help address a major source of diesel pollution," said Michael Seilback, vice president, Public Policy & Communications. "However, for the millions of New Yorkers who struggle to breathe every day, implementation of this law cannot come soon enough, and DEC must act quickly to ensure dirty diesel engines are being retrofit."

Under the rules, New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provides for what technologies constitute Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART). Additionally, DEC is mandated to submit a report to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2010, and every year thereafter on the use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and the use of retrofit technologies. The law also established the following schedule for installing the retrofit technologies: not less than 66 percent of all vehicles by Dec. 31, 2009; and, not less than 100 percent of all vehicles by Dec. 31, 2010.

Already implemented provisions of DERA include requiring all state owned heavy duty vehicles (used in on-road and off-road applications) and those under contract with the state to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) beginning in February 2007.

According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 89 percent of the state's population lives in a county where air quality does not attain federal health standards.

EPA has declared the counties of Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Kings, Richmond, New York, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland and Orange in "non-attainment" for fine particles.

According to the New York State Department of Health, the typical hospital bill for a person on Medicaid who is hospitalized for an asthma attack is $9,500, which is more than a diesel particulate filter (DPF) would cost. Thus, if each DPF installed provides enough clean air to avoid just one asthma-related hospital admission, then the legislation pays for itself. Furthermore, this law increases economic opportunities for companies in New York who currently make diesel emission reduction technologies.

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