DEP AND PARTNER AGENCIES ISSUE MORE THAN 40 VIOLATIONS IN NEWARK
DURING IDLING SWEEP TO HELP PROTECT NEW JERSEY AIR QUALITY
(19/P050) TRENTON – A team of inspection and enforcement officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies have issued more than 40 violations following a two-day environmental enforcement initiative in the City of Newark, Essex County, Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced.
Representatives with the DEP’s Division of Air Enforcement, Essex Regional Health Commission, Newark Police Department and the Commercial Vehicle Inspection teams of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey conducted the enforcement sweep in areas that citizens groups identified as potential locations for excessive vehicle idling. Between May 20 and 21, the teams issued 39 idling violations to diesel vehicles and six smoke emission violations.
“Excessive vehicle idling is harmful to the air we breathe and is especially concerning in areas of our state that are already overburdened by multiple environmental stressors,” Commissioner McCabe said. “The pollution that results from excessive idling also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, another great risk to New Jerseyans. We must do everything we can to reduce these emissions to keep our air clean and healthy and mitigate the effects of climate change.”
“Idling drags Newark down,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “Not only is it against the law, it adversely affects our most vulnerable populations. I support the DEP’s environmental enforcement activity to improve Newark’s air quality and reduce our impacts on greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”
Idling occurs when a vehicle’s engine is running but the vehicle is not in motion. State law limits idling of vehicles to three minutes when the vehicle is not in motion, but there are exemptions to allow businesses to conduct needed operations without interference.
Studies have shown that the fine particle pollution from diesel emissions in New Jersey may cause more premature deaths than homicides and car accidents combined. Further, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report shows that fine particle pollution is known to cause or exacerbate a variety of lung and heart ailments.
“New Jersey has had a no-idling law in effect since 1971 and we will continue to enforce it, in order to maintain quality of life and protect public health,” said Richelle Wormley, Acting Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement. “These types of enforcement sweeps will continue throughout the state.”
The locations where idling violations were identified during those sweeps will be evaluated to determine if anti-idling signage would be effective in eliminating excessive idling activity.
“The 3rd Precinct receives numerous complaints from citizens regarding idling vehicles,” said Capt. Anthony M. Costa, Commanding Officer of the Newark Police Department’s 3rd Precinct. “We take these complains seriously. The partnership we have with the DEP has helped address these complaints and improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”
Penalties for excessive idling of commercial vehicles are $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for the third offense and each subsequent violation.
In addition to contributing to air pollution, excessive idling wastes fuel and money, and causes excess wear and maintenance on both diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles. Transportation is also the largest source of climate pollution in New Jersey, accounting for 42 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, transportation sector emissions account for 71 percent of the state’s nitrogen oxides, a major contributor to smog. Smog forms when pollutants interact with sunlight and hot temperatures during warmer months to create ground-level ozone molecules.
For more about New Jersey’s idling regulations, visit https://www.stopthesoot.org/sts-idle.htm
For all of New Jersey’s air quality facts, visit www.cleanair.nj.gov.
To learn more about the DEP’s Bureau of Mobile Sources, under the Division of Air Quality visit ww.stopthesoot.org/.
Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.