Agency promises new Standard for Emissions of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that’s a big issue in a corridor state like New Jersey
Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:
For the first time in 17 years, the federal government is planning to clamp down on a type of smog-forming pollution from heavy-duty trucks.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced it will come up with a new standard to decrease emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from heavy-duty trucks and engines; the rule has not been changed since 2001.
The issue is important to New Jersey, a corridor state with significant truck traffic on interstate highways and urban areas in and out of its ports. Transportation is the major source of air pollution in the state, which has never complied with certain requirements of the Clean Air Act.
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The pollutant targeted by the agency contributes to the formation of smog, or ground-level ozone, that can cause lung disease and asthma. New Jersey has failed to achieve the federal health quality standard for ozone, a pollutant formed by the baking of emissions from vehicles and power plants during hot summer months.
In announcing the initiative, the EPA said it would reduce emissions from the pollutant significantly, helping communities attain clean air standards. It is estimated heavy-duty trucks will account for one-third of NOx emissions from the transportation sector in future years.
EPA has been ‘rolling back’ other regulations
The agency’s announcement was welcomed by environmentalists, but greeted with some skepticism, considering the Trump administration has moved to freeze rules to tighten for light-duty vehicles and cars, a step being challenged by New Jersey and other states.
“Before this decision, the EPA has been rolling back, changing or delaying Obama administration efforts to reduce air pollution and transportation regulation,’’ said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. He fears the new proposal will deregulate how the standards are enforced.
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