COMMISSIONER SHINN ENDORSES EMISSIONS REDUCTION PLAN
State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today endorsed a
federal plan that supports greater air pollution controls on passenger
cars, light trucks, mini-vans, sport utility vehicles and
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, released
Thursday, is required under the Clean Air Act to assess the need for
tighter emission controls on motor vehicles and the cost effectiveness
of those controls.
"Tighter passenger vehicle standards will be necessary to meet the
new clean air standards for ozone and particulates. But utility vehicles
are not required to meet the emission controls that are standard in
passenger cars today, although they are typically being used as
passenger vehicles, not for commercial hauling," said Shinn.
"Given the fact that cost-effective technology exists to control
these emissions, EPA should, without question, adopt new, tighter standards
for these vehicles."
If EPA proposes new rules, solicits public comment, and adopts the
proposal next year as expected, the cleaner vehicles would be
available in the 2004 model year at the earliest.
"Governor Whitman agreed to New Jersey's participation in the National
Low Emission Vehicle (NLEV) Program because we knew this rule-making
would push clean car technology even further," Shinn said.
The NLEV program negotiated with auto manufacturers puts cars 70
percent cleaner than current models on sale beginning this year. The
federal Clean Air Act of 1990 does not allow EPA to tighten auto
emission controls on light-duty vehicles before 2004.
"In addition, we must work toward reducing levels of sulfur in
gasoline, to maximize effectiveness of the pollution controls,"
added Shinn, pointing out sulfur in gasoline degrades the components
of the emission controls necessary to achieve the tighter standards.
EPA is expected to conduct a workshop on the sulfur issue May 12.
"Cleaner cars and trucks and cleaner fuels will mean substantially
cleaner air," said Shinn. "We'd like to see these two initiative
progress in tandem, which will help New Jersey attain the public
health standards for air quality."
The majority of New Jerseyans breathe unhealthful air on days
throughout the year when pollution levels reach excessive levels under
certain weather conditions. This especially harms young children, the
elderly, and persons with asthma and other respiratory problems. While
the Department of Environmental Protection has launched several
initiatives to reduce air pollution, national and regional efforts
such as cleaner cars and fuels are needed, as pollution from other
states degrades air quality in New Jersey.