WASHINGTON – Diesel-powered locomotives, ships, ferries and tugboats will have to eliminate 90 percent of the soot and 80 percent of the nitrogen oxides in their exhaust by 2030 under tougher air-pollution standards issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Today EPA is fitting another important piece into the clean diesel puzzle by cleaning emissions from our trains and boats,” EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said, adding that the nation’s “diesel rule has reached its final stop on its journey to deliver cleaner air to all Americans.”
Over the past decade, pollution from diesel-powered cars, sports-utilities, trucks and off-road vehicles has been cut by a series of rules that curb emissions of fine particles and smog-causing chemicals.
Environmental groups, which had criticized the EPA this week for setting new limits on smog-causing ozone at a level higher than recommended by the agency’s independent scientific advisers, applauded Friday’s action.
“Our children, and our children’s children, will grow up in an era where diesel engines are no longer associated with these noxious black plumes of smoke,” said Janea Scott, a staff lawyer with the group Environmental Defense. She added that the reductions ordered by the EPA “are challenging but achievable.”
The new standards will yield $8.4 billion to $12 billion in health benefits and prevent 1,400 premature deaths annually by the time they are in full effect in 2030, Johnson said. He estimated that they will cost industry $740 million to implement.
The EPA accelerated its original proposed deadline for cutting nitrogen oxides by two years; the rules will take effect in 2014 for vessels and in 2015 for locomotives.