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California Rules to Cut Diesel Truck Pollution Called Most Sweeping in U.S.
Date:12/12/2008

Will Dramatically Cut Largest Source of Deadly Diesel Pollution in State

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Air Resources Board today approved two diesel truck regulations that will dramatically cut the largest source of diesel pollution in the state and are the first of their kind in the United States, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The Air Resource Board estimates that the truck regulations are expected to save 9,400 lives between 2010 and 2025 and greatly reduce health care costs.

"In passing these rules, California will continue to lead a nationwide movement to protect our most vulnerable citizens and reduce health care costs by placing highly cost-effective controls on diesel engines," testified Dr. John Balbus, EDF's chief health scientist and a member of the National Academy of Science Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (http://www.edf.org/documents/8955_Balbus-CA-Truck-Testimony.pdf), during the public meeting this morning before the Air Resources Board voted to approve the rule late today. "The scientific literature is overflowing with studies documenting harm from diesel emissions to the lungs, the immune system, the heart and cardiovascular system, even the developing brain."

Retrofitting these trucks with particulate matter filters can reduce diesel soot up to 85 percent, and upgrading to newer trucks to meet EPA's latest engine standards can reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxide up to about 90%. The state is offering truckers more than $1 billion in funding to offset the costs of complying with the new rules.

"We should be positive about the overall outcome: we are on a path to reduce deadly diesel emissions," said Camille Kustin, an EDF policy analyst based in Sacramento. "However, we'll be moving along that path slower than we had hoped."

Diesel trucks are the largest emitter of toxic diesel particulate matter in the state due to a combination of lagging emission standards, the long life of the diesel engine, and the high number of miles each truck travels. The newest diesel trucks are much cleaner than their predecessors thanks to recent EPA regulations, but the natural turnover of trucks will not happen fast enough in order for the state to meet federal clean air requirements and to achieve near and long term health benefits. There are more than 900,000 diesel trucks in California, but they produce more than double the amount of the particulate matter and nitrogen oxide from all of the state's 20 million passenger cars and trucks.

Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members nationwide and 100,000 in California. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org

    CONTACT: Sean Crowley, 202-550-6524 (m), scrowley@edf.org
    Lori Sinsley, 415-308-6970 (m), lsinsley@edf.org


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SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund
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