Deadly Diesel - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the September 2001 Juniper Berry Magazine

Deadly Diesel

The fumes are making our planet sick.

Recently released data from U.S. EPA's National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment, now analyzed by Environmental Defense's Scorecard (scorecard.org), show that 78% of the estimated additional cancer risk from breathing hazardous air pollutants outdoors comes from diesel particulate emissions alone. A surprising amount of this pollution comes from off-road sources like bulldozers and heavy construction equipment. In Middle Village and Maspeth, the greatest diesel hazard comes from the Long Island Expressway.

Largely because of diesel exhaust, more than 50 million people in the U.S. live in areas where the additional cancer risk from toxic chemicals in the air is more than 1,000 times greater than what the U.S. Congress set as a goal for the Clean Air Act.

EPA has already taken several important regulatory actions to cleanup mobile sources, but the magnitude of the diesel problem is so large that stronger efforts are needed, specifically including tougher controls on off-road diesel equipment that so far have largely escaped attention.

Take action! Send an email message to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that urgent action is needed to clean up diesel pollution and to protect human health.

To see your risk from diesel exhaust in your local community, visit Scorecard at: http://www.scorecard.org/env-releases/hap/community.tcl

For more information on efforts already underway to cleanup mobile sources, visit:

http://www.scorecard.org/env-releases/def/hap_caa_goal.html

Take action to clean-up diesel exhaust

Please write to our elected officials (especially Senators and Congressmen). Below is a sample letter you can use.

Dear [Decision Maker],

The health risks posed by diesel emissions are shocking. Based on data from your own national-scale air toxics assessment (NATA), diesel emissions by themselves are responsible for over 75% of the cancer risk in outdoor air attributable to hazardous air pollutants as a whole. I strongly urge you to support and implement the controls recommended by the state and territorial air pollution program administrators (STAPPA) and the association of local air pollution control officials (ALAPCO), including:

* securing the more stringent standards for on-road, heavy-duty diesel engines you have now tentatively accepted, based on current advanced technology, for implementation in the 2007 model year; including a limit on the sulfur level in diesel highway fuel of 15 parts per million (ppm) or less; and

* adopting equivalently stringent emissions standards for non-road heavy-duty diesel engines, to be implemented in the same time frame, along with the ultra-low sulfur non-road diesel fuel that will be necessary to achieve these limits.

I also urge you to expand your diesel retrofit program dramatically, to speed up the cleanup of existing, high-polluting diesel engines.

Please sign letter.