EPA final rule to clean up diesel pollution from trains, ships stronger than proposed rule

March 14, 2008
Janea Scott - (917) 674-0513-c or jscott@edf.org
Sean Crowley – (202) 559-6524-c or scrowley@edf.org
(Houston, Texas – March 14, 2008) In an announcement from the bustling Port of Houston, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized and improved upon its proposed emission standards to dramatically reduce harmful particulate pollution and smog-forming nitrogen oxides from the nation’s fleet of diesel locomotive engines, tugs, barges, ferries and recreational marine engines. 
When fully implemented, the new standards will cut particulate pollution from each engine by 90 percent and smog-forming oxides of nitrogen from each engine by 80 percent. The health benefits of this rule will outweigh the costs by 15 to 1.  These engines are a major source of smog-forming pollution and the extensive emission cuts will help communities here in Texas and across the nation achieve the new ozone health standard announced on Wednesday.     
“These clean air standards will mean millions of Americans will have healthier and longer lives,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. “From trains to ferries, the nation is transitioning to a bold new era of cleaner diesel engines. As today’s diesel fleet turns over, diesel engines will no longer churn out suffocating black plumes of smoke.”
The 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 standards will be achieved through the combination of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and advanced engine systems. The new rule is stronger than the proposed rule because it accelerates the implementation deadline for locomotive diesel engines by two years from 2017 to 2015, accelerates the implementation deadline for the largest marine engines covered by the rule from 2016 to 2014, and requires marine engines to meet a more protective standard when they are rebuilt.
“EPA deserves praise for issuing a final rule that is stronger than its original proposal,” said Environmental Defense Fund staff attorney Janea Scott, who testified at an EPA hearing last May about the proposed rule and attended the EPA announcement of the final rule in Houston.  “These additional and earlier reductions in pollution mean cleaner, healthier air sooner.  Cleaner diesel engines will improve the health of our neighborhoods and communities near ports and railyards, and will help keep the nation on track in achieving the new health standard for smog.”
Most of the ships and trains in the U.S. today are powered by diesel engines. Diesel trains and ships, such as ferries and tugboats, are major sources of air pollution. Diesel exhaust contains toxic chemicals that together with diesel particulate matter pose a cancer risk greater than that of any other air pollutant. Each year, diesel locomotives and commercial ships together emit nearly two million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides. Both are major sources of lethal particulate pollution.
Environmental Defense Fund 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.