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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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RELEASE: 8/21/01
CONTACT: Amy Collings or Loretta O'Donnell
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994

DEP Proposal Targets Diesel Truck Emissions

As part of a state-led initiative to reduce air pollution, the New Jersey DEP outlined plans to curtail harmful emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines at a public hearing in Trenton this week.

The new rules were proposed in an effort to address the gap in time between the expiration of existing emissions standards in 2004 and the adoption of federal emission standards beginning in 2007. The proposed regulations would reduce the emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines manufactured during model years 2005 and 2006.

The new laws are part of a multi-state initiative led by the Ozone Transport Commission. To date, 20 states have committed to adopt these standards. The new regulations will compel heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers to adhere to strict standards for emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), two years before federal standards take effect.

"New Jersey has shown great progress in our efforts to reduce air pollution, and the proposed regulations continue our aggressive strategy," said DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn. "As a corridor state in the industrial Northeast, New Jersey will benefit as more states adopt these regulations and help us meet our clean air goals."

The need for strict regulations for heavy duty diesel engines became apparent in the 1990s when it was found that seven large manufacturers had been utilizing " defeat devices" to turn off emissions controls during highway driving. The devices saved fuel but allowed NOx emissions of up to three times the legal limit. The new regulations will address the issue of defeat devices by using standards that must be met at all times the vehicle is in use. NOx emissions are harmful to both human health and the environment.

NOx emissions contribute to respiratory ailments, such as emphysema and pneumonia in humans. It also triggers the formation of ground level ozone, a significant problem for densely populated states such as New Jersey. Ozone, or smog, can lead to respiratory problems, even at low levels. It also can worsen bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma, and reduce lung capacity. In addition, ozone damages plantlife and reduces the productivity of crops. Ozone levels are highest in summer months. By August 11 of this year, New Jersey had unhealthy air due to high levels of ozone on 11 days, and exceeded the new, more stringent health standard for ozone on 31 days.

The proposed standards for heavy-duty diesel engines will not be a serious financial burden for the manufacturers, adding approximately $800 per engine.

If the new laws were not to be enacted it is estimated that over 1,600 more tons of NOx emissions would be added to the state's atmosphere in the two-year gap between regulations.

"The sooner we start using cleaner, more fuel-efficient engines in our transportation fleet, the sooner we will have cleaner air in New Jersey," said Shinn. The proposal appeared in the July 16 "New Jersey Register" and can be viewed at


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