Environmental Defense Supports EPA Proposal to Cut Dangerous Diesel Exhaust from Trains and Ships

March 2, 2007


Janea Scott 310-728-9469
Diane Slaine-Siegel 212-616-1267

(New York, New York – March 2, 2007) - Today, Environmental Defense President Fred Krupp will join EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson at EPA’s announcement of proposed new emission standards for diesel trains and ships. The emission standards would apply to the nation’s fleet of diesel locomotive engines, tugs, barges, ferries and recreational marine engines. Diesel exhaust contains toxic chemicals that together with diesel particulate matter pose a cancer risk greater than that of any other air pollutant. The proposed standards, when adopted and fully phased in, would reduce particulate pollution and smog-forming oxides of nitrogen from each engine by 90 percent. Today’s announcement is scheduled for 11am ET at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey (Berth 23, Elizabeth Marine Terminal).

“EPA is clearly on the right track in proposing to address the dangerous diesel exhaust from trains and ships,” said Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense President. “We look forward to working with EPA and the states to carry this important work across the finish line by securing final clean air standards for high-polluting trains and ships.”

The proposed rule provides for clean air standards comparable to those that EPA has adopted for large diesel trucks and buses, and for construction, mining and agricultural equipment. The proposed standards will be achieved through the combination of low sulfur diesel fuel and advanced engine systems.

The use of trains for freight transport has doubled in the last 35 years. Last year, locomotives released over 900,000 tons of smog-forming oxides of nitrogen and 32,000 tons of particulate pollution. Nationally, commercial shipping is responsible for about 1 million tons of smog-forming oxides of nitrogen each year. And each year commercial marine vessels release some 40,000 tons of particulate pollution and 160,000 tons of sulfur dioxide across the United States. When finalized, EPA’s proposal to clean up the nation’s fleet of commercial ships and locomotives could help clear the way for extensive human health and environmental benefits by substantially lowering particulate pollution and smog-forming contaminants.

Another important feature of EPA’s proposal would apply clean up standards to rebuilt or remanufactured locomotive engines. Environmental Defense recommends EPA apply the same sensible policy approach to ensure rebuilt marine engines also meet updated emission standards.

Environmental Defense has documented the extensive air pollution from both ships and locomotives. Learn how commercial marine shipping is polluting our air here and learn more about locomotive pollution here