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Locomotive and Marine Diesel Engines Clean Up Will Save Lives

Statement of Bernadette Toomey, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Lung Association, March 14, 2008

WASHINGTON, March 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association salutes the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule to require substantial cuts in the air pollution produced by locomotive and marine diesel engines. Communities across the nation urgently need this federal help to help clean up dangerous ozone and particle pollution. Cleaning up diesel locomotives and marine engines will save thousands of lives.

This long-awaited step requires train and boat engines to emit 90 percent less particulate matter and 80 percent less nitrogen oxides. Particulate pollution shortens the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year and nitrogen oxide is a major pollutant and a key component of ozone, the most widespread air pollution problem in the U.S.

Emissions from locomotive and marine engines cause thousands of premature deaths each year. This long overdue rule will begin immediately to reduce thousands of tons of air pollution each year. Train and marine engines must now make emissions cuts comparable to those mandated for diesel trucks, buses and heavy equipment.

The final rule is stronger than the proposal in several key areas, including requiring the locomotive nitrogen oxide standards in 2015, two years earlier than originally proposed. Marine engines, like locomotives, will also have to meet tighter standards when they are remanufactured. The remanufacturing standards mean that the existing fleet of engines will start getting cleaner this year. The American Lung Association is very pleased that the final rule reflects the improvements that we called for in our public comments on the proposal.

Millions of people -- seniors, children, people with lung diseases including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- live in areas where cleaner locomotive and marine engines will help them breathe easier.

On Wednesday, March 12, EPA disappointed the public by revising the ozone health standard to a level above the range recommended by the agency's scientific advisors and much higher than the recommendation of sixteen major medical societies and public health organizations -- including the American Lung Association. Further, the EPA Administrator recklessly called for weakening changes to the Clean Air Act.

Cleaning up diesel pollution is an area where EPA has consistently pushed ahead with significant pollution control strategies. The American people need an EPA that is always grounded in the best science with an unwavering commitment to protecting health and the environment. The locomotive and marine diesel engine rule demonstrates that the Clean Air Act provides EPA with the authority to enact significant pollution reductions that will benefit the public health. Congress crafted the Clean Air Act to be a forward-looking law that vests EPA with the ability to continue to reduce emissions to meet the national air quality standards. This action today proves that the Clean Air Act, when properly applied, works.

SOURCE American Lung Association
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