Monday, July 14, 2014

Report: Diesel Pollution Controls Really Work! Congress and White House, Please Take Note!

A new report confirms something that may seem obvious to some -- using pollution control devices on big diesel engines really cuts emissions -- and reduces public exposure to a very dangerous pollutant.

The report, by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, , tracked the results of putting diesel pollution control devices on buses in metropolitan Boston early in the last decade.  The good news?  Emissions of dangerous black carbon soot particles dropped significantly as the pollution controls were put into place.  This was fantastic news, especially for those living near a bus depot in Roxbury.

What's the bad news?  Well, it's not in this report, but the bad news is that the Obama administration keeps trying to slash funding for similar cleanup programs elsewhere. (In government jargon, it seeks to zero out funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Program.)  Each year in the past few, Congress has scrapped over restoring a relative pittance to the cleanup program, which relies on government spending.  (Although new diesel engines are very clean, existing ones are not -- and are exempt from mandatory federal cleanup requirements.)

Black carbon, by the way, is also a potent "climate forcing" pollutant, so reductions in it help reduce the climate change problem, at least in the short term.

We can only hope that Congress takes note -- and that the White House stops its ill-conceived efforts to terminate diesel cleanup spending.  There are still far too many dirty diesels still on the road!




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