Thursday, May 24, 2007

Diesel Pollution

All diesel engines need to be as pollution free as technology can make them and the costs borne by public funds or particular industries to accomplish this is a cost well absorbed in the interests of better health.

Editorial: Deadly diesel soot
Don't weaken construction equipment rules
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, May 24, 2007

To protect kids and the public from potentially deadly diesel soot, California has retrofitted or replaced more than 4,000 school buses in recent years. This effort has cost the state and school districts tens of millions of dollars. Voters last year approved $200 million in bonds to help further this clean-up crusade.

Now the state is turning its attention to one of the largest sources of diesel pollution -- "off-road" equipment, such as bulldozers and backhoes. On Friday, the California Air Resources Board will begin deliberations on rules to control diesel pollution from this equipment. Board members need to resist pressure from the construction industry to weaken these proposed rules.

Diesel soot is an especially toxic type of particulate pollution. When inhaled, these particles lodge deep in the lungs. Scientists have linked this pollution to asthma, heart attacks and premature deaths. Construction equipment accounts for 20 percent of the diesel particulates emitted in California, largely because contractors generally use old and durable machines built with few or no pollution controls.

Under the air board's proposed regulations, contractors and public utilities would have several options in reducing particulate pollution 85 percent in 13 years.