From: Reuters
Published March 14, 2008 02:48 PM

U.S. requires trains and ships to cut engine pollution

By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday issued tough standards to significantly cut polluting emissions spewed from new diesel engines that will power trains and ships.

When fully implemented, the new standards will reduce soot by 90 percent, or 27,000 tons, and cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent, or nearly 800,000 tons.

The cleaner engines would reduce pollutants linked to health problems such as asthma, preventing 1,400 deaths and 120,000 lost workdays annually in 2030, the EPA said.

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"As more and more goods flow through our ports and railways, EPA is cutting diesel emissions at their source -- keeping our nation on track toward a clean, healthy, productive tomorrow," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said.

The new standard slashes permissible emissions from all types of diesel locomotives, including line-haul, switch, and passenger rail, as well as marine engines on ferries, tugboats and Great Lake freighters.

The tougher standards for soot will be phased in beginning in 2015, and the nitrogen oxide emissions cuts will start in 2014 or 2015, depending on the size and type of engine.

Most environmental groups welcomed the new standards.

"Thousands of asthma attacks and other health emergencies will be avoided, as the nation's 40,000 ships and 21,000 diesel locomotives are cleaned up in years to come," said Richard Kassel of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"While ships and trains deliver many things Americans want, nobody needs to breathe their toxic soot. These ships and trains emit as much smog-forming pollution each year as 120 coal-fired power plants," he said.

William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said the EPA took a positive step in reducing emissions from two of the most under-regulated sources of U.S. air pollution.

"We are disappointed, however, that EPA has opted to delay implementation of the standards beyond the date by which some areas of the country are required to meet clean air deadlines," he said.

(Editing by Walter Bagley)

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