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
"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 www.state.nj.us/dep/aqm