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PA OZONE REDUCTION FROM HEAVY TRUCKS

Release Date: 06/21/96
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PA OZONE REDUCTION FROM HEAVY TRUCKS

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 1996

EPA PROPOSES PLAN FOR REDUCING OZONE
POLLUTION FROM HEAVY TRUCKS

EPA is proposing a national program to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and hydrocarbons emissions (HC) from heavy trucks and buses that will provide substantial benefits for public health and the environment. The proposed standards would also reduce the secondary formation of particulate matter from nitrogen oxides. As proposed, the standards would become effective with the 2004 model year. EPA said that despite the progress already made in reducing vehicle emissions, continued growth could off-set air quality improvements within the next generation. Highway heavy-duty engines contribute 20 percent of total mobile source NOx. Today's proposal would reduce NOx emissions by 50 percent. Smog is produced when NOx and HC bake in the sun. Studies show that ozone reduces lung functioning and aggravates existing respiratory problems such as asthma. It can also cause a breakdown in a person's ability to fight off infectious bacteria. Currently, about 80 million people in 31 states are exposed to these and other health problems from breathing air that does not meet the ozone air quality standard. When the truck and bus fleet turns over (around 2020), the emissions reductions from the new standards are expected to be l.2 million tons per year. That reduction is equivalent to taking 25 million vehicles off the road, or reducing miles driven by 300 billion miles per year or reducing one out of seven coal-fired electric plants. Under the proposal, heavy-duty engine manufacturers would be able to choose one of two different combinations of HC and NOx standards. The choice would provide industry with the flexibility to determine the engine families that would comply with one or the other combination. As proposed, the standards would apply to both California and 49-state heavy trucks and buses, thus simplifying compliance requirements for engine manufacturers. Today's proposal follows a Statement of Principles signed by highway heavy-duty engine manufacturers, EPA and the California Air Resources Board in July 1995 that established a consensus plan in which all signatories agreed to work together to design a program that would provide public health benefits nationwide. The Agency issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for comment in August 1995. A public hearing on today's proposed rule will be held on July 25 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Further details on the hearing will be announced in the Federal Register soon. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following the public hearing.