America targets ship and train pollution

New standards to tackle emissions from the heavy diesel engines of ships and trains have been put forward by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Train emissions, as well as those from ships, are being shunted up the political agenda

Train emissions, as well as those from ships, are being shunted up the political agenda

The proposals seek to reduce air pollution by targeting two of the usual suspects - nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

If adopted the Clean Air Locomotive and Marine Diesel Rule would cut particulate emissions from these sources by 90% and nox by 80% once fully phased in.

"By tackling the greatest remaining source of diesel emissions, we're keeping our nation's clean air progress moving full steam ahead," said EPA Administrator Stephen L Johnson.

"Over the last century, diesels have been America's economic workhorse, and through this rule, an economic workhorse is also becoming an environmental workhorse."

The EPA predicts that the legislation would cut America's health bill by $12 billion per year by 2030 by reducing premature deaths, hospitalisation and respiratory illnesses across the United States.

Even ignoring the environmental benefits, the EPA claims that there are strong financial arguments for the legislation, with every $1 spent implementing it saving the economy $20.

The rule would tighten emission standards for existing locomotives when they are remanufactured.

Additionally, the rule sets stringent emission standards for new locomotive and marine diesel engines and sets long-term regulations that require the use of advanced technology to reduce emissions.

Consistent with its other clean diesel successes, EPA worked collaboratively with a wide array of stakeholders, including manufacturers, technology companies, environmental groups and states.

The proposal dramatically cuts emissions from all types of diesel locomotives, including line-haul, switch, and passenger rail, as well as from a wide range of marine sources, including ferries, tugboats, yachts and marine auxiliary engines.

This includes small generator sets to large generators on ocean-going ships.

The locomotive remanufacturing proposal would take effect as soon as certified systems are available, as early as 2008, but no later than 2010.

Standards for new locomotive and marine diesel engines would phase-in starting in 2009. Long-term standards would phase-in beginning in 2014 for marine diesel engines and 2015 for locomotives.

The rule also explores a remanufacturing programme for existing large marine diesel engines similar to the existing programme for locomotives. Other provisions seek to reduce unnecessary locomotive idling.

The EPA website carries more information, and the consultation documents, on clean diesel locomotives and clean diesel marine engines.

Sam Bond


| air quality | transport


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