Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Diesel pollution in perspective: why we haven't solved the problem

The US EPA is holding a dog-and-pony show this morning with diesel engine interests to tout the new generation of cleaner diesel trucks and buses.


And, as someone who has worked on this issue for quite a number of years, I have to say the cleanup of new diesel engines has been a stunning accomplishment. Not that many years ago, “they said it couldn’t be done.”

This landmark accomplishment happened only after major battles against the oil industry, which for years resisted making cleaner diesel fuel needed to operate the new trucks and buses. It’s little surprise that no one from the oil industry is scheduled to speak at this event.

So let’s applaud the cleaner trucks coming off the assembly line. Over time, thousands of lives will be saved and everyone will breathe easier.

But let’s take a second to put this into perspective. Because diesel engines are so durable, the majority of trucks on the road continue to spew out toxic fumes. Indeed, literally millions of dirty diesel engines remain on the road. http://www.catf.us/resources/publications/?project=3

We need to do much more to clean them up.

A near term opportunity is the reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act which provides funds for clean-up to all states. We hope the Congress will get moving on this bipartisan plan after the election fireworks.

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