EPA Proposal for More Stringent Emissions Standards for Locomotives and Marine Compression-Ignition Engines

March 2, 2007

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing more stringent exhaust emission standards for locomotives and marine diesel engines. The proposal would significantly reduce harmful emissions of diesel particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from these engines through a three-part program: (1) tightening emission standards for existing locomotives when they are remanufactured, (2) setting near-term engine-out emission standards, referred to as Tier 3 standards, for newly-built locomotives and marine diesel engines; and (3) setting longer-term standards, referred to as Tier 4 standards, for newly-built locomotives and marine diesel engines that reflect the application of high-efficiency aftertreatment technology. EPA is also proposing provisions to eliminate emissions from unnecessary locomotive idling and is asking for comment on a concept to reduce emissions from existing marine diesel engines when they are remanufactured.


Clean Air Task Force Warns of Health Risk to Commuters from Diesel Exhaust in New Report: "No Escape From Diesel"

February 28, 2007

Diesel fumes pose a major health risk to commuters, according to a new report by the non-profit Clean Air Task Force.

The Boston-based environmental research group reported today that even though we spend only a tiny portion of our day commuting, it's during the commute that we receive more than half our overall exposure to deadly fine particle pollution.


Carlisle's Air Quality? Poor, Council Says

February 24, 2007

The air in and around Carlisle is not just bad; it is worse than the air in 96 percent of communities around the U.S.

That's according to the Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation and the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, which released a report on the air quality in the Carlisle area yesterday.

While the findings are bad, they said, the good news is that steps can be taken to make the air more breathable.


Report Highlights Concerns Over Air Quality

February 23, 2007

A new report released today details concerns about local air quality and suggests solutions and funding sources.

“Carlisle Area Air Quality Assessment Report” was to be officially unveiled this afternoon at Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation’s offices on Wilson Street.


A Philadelphia First: Biofuels Roll into Center City - Fueling our Future

February 2, 2007

Last week, in his State of the Union address, President Bush challenged the nation to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next 10 years. Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell unveiled his Energy Independence Strategy that called for Pennsylvanians to reduce reliance on foreign sources of fuel. And today, Philadelphia moves closer to making both of those visions a reality as the first biofuels station in the Delaware Valley opens for business.

A press conference was held today to announce the Grand Opening of the first biofuels fueling station in the Delaware Valley. E85 (ethanol) and B20 (biodiesel) are now available to the public at the Center City Shell station located at the corner of 12th and Vine Streets. Conventional gasoline and diesel are also available.


Governor Rendell Unveils Energy Independence Strategy to Save Consumers $10 Billion over 10 Years, Reduce Reliance on Foreign Fuels

February 1, 2007

Citing the urgent need to cut energy costs, move toward energy independence and stimulate the economy, Governor Rendell today released his Energy Independence Strategy. The plan will push Pennsylvania into the top tier of states taking steps to cut consumer energy costs, and significantly expand the alternative fuel, clean energy and conservation sectors.
The enactment of new laws, regulatory policies and the creation of the $850 million Energy Independence Fund will enable Pennsylvania to achieve three key goals:
- Save consumers $10 billion in energy costs over the next 10 years;
- Reduce Pennsylvania’s reliance on foreign fuels and increase Pennsylvania’s clean energy production capacity; and
- Expand Pennsylvania’s energy production and energy technology sectors to create more jobs.


Living Near A Highway Affects Lung Development In Children

January 27, 2007

Children who live near a major highway are not only more likely to develop asthma or other respiratory diseases, but their lung development may also be stunted.

According to a study that will appear in the February 17 issue of The Lancet and now available online, researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) found that children who lived within 500 meters of a freeway, or approximately a third of a mile, since age 10 had substantial deficits in lung function by the age of 18 years, compared to children living at least 1500 meters, or approximately one mile, away.


Philadelphia Ranked #2 Most Challenging City For Asthmatics

January 12, 2007

From Atlanta to Seattle, asthma has a major impact on cities throughout the United States, according to the most recent rankings of the Asthma Capitals – the 100 most challenging places to live if you have asthma – released by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

The top 10 cities on the list this year are:

1. Atlanta, GA
2. Philadelphia, PA
3. Raleigh, NC
4. Knoxville, TN
5. Harrisburg, PA
6. Grand Rapids, MI
7. Milwaukee, WI
8. Greensboro, NC
9. Scranton, PA
10. Little Rock, AR


Cleaner Diesel Engine Rules Take Effect

December 29, 2006

Federal regulations that take effect Monday mandate cleaner diesel engines in new trucks and school buses, dramatically cutting pollution but raising costs.

The new engines, in combination with low-sulfur diesel fuel that began selling nationwide in October, will reduce particulate emissions by up to 98% over the previous generation, the Diesel Technology Forum says. Nitrogen-oxide emissions will fall by half.


Clean Diesel Ahead Of Schedule

December 19, 2006

Federal officials say the nation's retail fuel stations are exceeding guidelines for ultra-low diesel fuel, with 85 percent of stations reporting their stocks meet the new emissions standards.

All the country's highway diesel fuel must meet the ULSD standards by 2010 and the retail stations were to reach 80 percent by the end of this year.


Massachusetts To Pay For Retrofits To Offset Big Dig Project

December 18, 2006

Massachusetts has agreed to pay $22.5 million to dramatically reduce air pollution from every public school bus and regional transit bus in the state within four years, a landmark deal designed to offset pollution from the Big Dig, according to state officials.
Some 7,800 diesel-powered school buses and 600 regional transit buses will be retrofitted with filters that are expected to ultimately reduce emissions by as much as 90 percent when used with a cleaner fuel many of the vehicles now use.


Smoky Diesel Locomotive Turns Into A Clean Machine

December 15, 2006

On first glance, the hulking locomotive in Union Pacific Railroad's yard near the Port of Oakland looks like any other. But Locomotive 1378 doesn't have any smokestacks -- or the clouds of black smoke that typically puff from the diesel engines.

As part of an experiment to cut emissions from older diesel locomotives, the railroad has removed the two smokestacks from the locomotive and replaced them with a big stainless steel box that sits behind the cab.

That box contains the nation's first diesel particulate filters made for locomotives. The filters are devices that trap, then burn off most of the microscopic pollutants linked to premature deaths and lung disease.


EPA Proposes Requiring Onboard Diagnostic Systems (OBDs) On 2010 Large Heavy-Duty Engines

December 13, 2006

This proposal would require the emissions control systems of large highway diesel and gasoline trucks to be monitored for malfunctions via an onboard diagnostic system (OBD), similar to those systems that have been required on passenger cars since the mid-1990s. In addition to these proposed requirements and changes, we are seeking comment on possible future regulations that would require OBD systems on heavy-duty diesel engines used in nonroad equipment (e.g., construction, industrial, agricultural). This proposal also makes changes to certain existing OBD requirements for smaller highway heavy-duty diesel trucks. The proposal is EPA Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0047 and comments on this rule are due to EPA 60 days after publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.


E85/B20 In Philly! Alternative Fuels Station NOW OPEN!

November 28, 2006

As of November 28, 2006 the Shell Station located at 12th and Vine Street in Center City Philadelphia is the first station in the region to offer E85 and B20 to the public!

According to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), "E85 is the term for motor fuel blends of 85% ethanol and just 15% gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Besides its superior performance characteristics, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; it is a completely renewable, domestic, environmentally friendly fuel that enhances the nation's economy and energy independence."

E85 is easily used in a "Flex Fuel Vehicle" (FFV), a car, van or truck that is capable of burning either E85 or conventional gasoline. Many of the new automobiles out on the market are FFV. Check with your dealer or the car manufacturer to see if your vehicle is FFV.


ACERT Caterpillar Engine 2007 Certified By EPA

November 22, 2006

On November 20, 2006, Caterpillar Inc. received certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the company's first engine equipped with ACERT Technology for 2007. This technology positions Caterpillar to meet future EPA emissions regulations and provides a long-term emissions solution for the global on-highway engine market.
ACERT Technology relies on four basic systems to lower emissions -- air management, precision combustion, advanced electronics and effective after- treatment. These four systems work to decrease particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbon emissions while preserving the engine's reliability and durability, which keep owning and operating costs low.


The Federal Highway Administration Releases New CMAQ Guidance

October 31, 2006

The Federal Highway Administration has released new guidance for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. The CMAQ program has been reauthorized under Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The new guidance replaces the April 1999 guidance, discusses the changes to the CMAQ program as a result of SAFETEA-LU and clarifies FHWA’s policy based on seven years of feedback since the last guidance document.

SAFETEA-LU placed a renewed focus on advancing cost-effective transportation projects that improve air quality. Specifically, the bill highlighted diesel engine retrofits as a priority for CMAQ expenditures, due to the cost-effective emissions reduction benefits that can be achieved through many retrofit technologies. The FHWA encourages States to consider this legislative priority when selecting projects for CMAQ funding. Appendix 4 of the guidance document provides relative cost-effectiveness data on eligible project types to help inform decision-makers during the CMAQ project selection process. Additional information on diesel retrofits is included in Appendix 5 of the guidance.


Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel Is Available At Retail Stations

October 15, 2006

As of October 15, 2006 Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel is available at most retail stations. This is an important milestone in efforts to reduce air pollution from diesel engines. ULSD is a cleaner burning fuel that enables advanced pollution control technology on heavy-duty trucks and buses. The cleaner fuel gives engine and vehicle manufacturers the fuel they need to meet stringent 2007 emission standards. Model year 2007 heavy-duty trucks and buses will be more than 90 percent cleaner than current models.


Diesel Is Going Greener, Cleaner And Less Smelly

October 11, 2006

Diesel - the pairing of cheap fuel and reliable engines that belched black pollutants skyward over a century's growth in the transportation industry - is turning greener.

A cleaner fuel, mandated to be in wide use by Sunday, has paved the way for the 2007 debut of new engines with vastly better emission controls.