Monday, August 14, 2006

Deadly diesel train pollution: how you can help

Today’s Washington Post includes an excellent story on the perils of pollution spewing from diesel freight trains.

As the Post notes , diesel trains are not only a big source of pollution, but – unless something is done to correct the problem – trains eventually will collectively emit more pollution than all the trucks on the road!

EPA scientists recognize this is a real problem, but freight-hauling railroads are balking at cleaning up the deadly mess they make.

But there is something you can do to help: Urge EPA to take swift action to clean up train pollution.

At the bottom of this message is a potential model – a letter sent to EPA last week by Clean Air Watch and several other prominent clean-air advocates. It makes reference to both train and marine diesel engines since EPA is likely to tackle both at the same time.

Here’s how to contact EPA:

E-mail: . Specify docket number OAR-2003-0190 in the
body of the message and copy

Fax: (202) 260-4400

Regular Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, Air Docket, Mailcode 6102T, 1200
Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20460. Also note docket number OAR-2003-0190

August 9, 2006
The Honorable Stephen L. Johnson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Mail code 1101A
Washington, D.C. 20460
Cc: William Wehrum, Robert Brenner, Margo Oge

Dear Administrator Johnson,

Earlier this year state and local clean air agencies and more than 50 environmental and
public health organizations sent you a letter respectfully requesting your leadership in
taking swift action to clean up the harmful diesel exhaust from marine vessels and
locomotives. Since then, the case has only become more urgent for addressing this
pressing human health and environmental problem.

It now appears that projected locomotive emissions are far higher than originally
estimated. In fact, NOx emissions estimates from locomotives increased to more than
800,000 tons in 2030, and PM emissions estimates increased to a staggering 25,000 tons
in 2030. In addition, according to EPA, about half of all Americans now live in counties
that fail to meet basic healthy air standards. This includes the 474 counties, home to 159
million Americans, out of full compliance with the health-based eight-hour ozone
standard, and the 208 counties representing more than 57 million Americans out of full
compliance with the health-based particulate pollution standard.

State implementation plans are due in June, 2007 for ozone and in April, 2008 for PM.
It is vitally important that states not only be able to count on rigorous reductions from
the new fleet of marine vessels and locomotives, but also on immediate interim reductions
in order to meet their attainment goals in a timely manner. The pollution coming from
marine vessels and locomotives plays a key part in our country’s nonattainment problems
and this pollution contributes to lung cancer, heart attacks, asthma attacks, strokes,
diminished lung capacity in kids and premature death. Reductions today can prevent a
host of health effects tomorrow.

Therefore, our organizations respectfully urge the Agency to issue, as soon as possible,
both an aftertreatment-based standard for marine vessels and locomotives to take effect
no later than 2013 for PM and 2014 for NOx . and a strong interim standard for ships
and locomotives to address pollution from existing engines while we wait for the
aftertreatment-based standard to phase in.

Thank you for your continued attention to this important public health issue.

Paul Billings
American Lung Association

Frank O.Donnell
Clean Air Watch

Janea A. Scott
Environmental Defense

Rich Kassel
Natural Resources Defense Council
S.William Becker

State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators/Association of Local Air
Pollution Control Officials

Don Anair
Union of Concerned Scientists

Emily Figdor
U.S. Public Interest Research Group

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