Environmental Defense Calls for City Council to Swiftly Pass Bills to Clean-Up City Vehicles

September 23, 2004

(23 September 2004 — New York) At a City Council hearing today, Environmental Defense testified in favor of a package of bills that will significantly cut pollution from vehicles owned, operated or contracted by the City.  The bills would require City agencies to use the cleanest available cars and trucks, including for example, hybrid vehicles, compressed-natural-gas vehicles and advanced retrofit technologies for diesel fleets.  The bills would cover school buses, cars, sanitation trucks and other fleets. 

“New York City is working with an old rule book when it comes to the purchasing guidelines for the vehicles in their fleets,” said Janea Scott, air policy attorney at Environmental Defense.  “Cleaner technologies are available, cost-effective, and proven.  The City Council has an opportunity with these bills to attract the cleanest vehicles to New York’s streets and set a valuable precedent for other cities.” 

In its testimony, Environmental Defense referenced a report it released earlier this week that ranked New York City as the third dirtiest city for kids.  According to the report, nearly 22% of the days of summer put children with asthma at risk of worsening their disease.  The NYC Department of Health has found that one in eight New Yorkers has been diagnosed with asthma, including about 300,000 children.  For more information on the report, visit www.dangerousdays.org.

These bills will curb pollution from the transportation sector, which is one of the biggest sources of air pollution in the City.  Mobile sources in New York City release 80% of the City’s criteria air pollutants, which include ozone, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead.  These pollutants contribute to both chronic and acute respiratory injury, stroke, asthma attacks and more.  Mobile sources also release hazardous air pollutants that can cause cancer.  In New York City, 94% of the added cancer risk is from air pollution from the mobile sector. 

Environmental Defense also released this week the Cleaner Diesel Handbook, aimed at providing the private sector, public officials and ordinary citizens with the means to reduce harmful pollution from diesel engines.  The handbook is available at www.environmentaldefense.org/dangerousdays.cfm?subnav=handbook