Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | August 3, 2009

New Research Links PAHs to Child Intelligence

This new study by the National Institute of Health estimates that high levels of prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), such as those emanating from vehicles, is associated with a roughly four-point drop in child intelligence by age five.

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | July 27, 2009

NY-NJ Funds Truck Replacement

The New York/New Jersey Port Authority is putting stimulus money to work, funding a truck replacement program that would replace pre-1994 drayage vehicles at the port. The program offers 25% toward the cost of a new truck, and low-interest loans to finance their purchase.

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | July 17, 2009

DERA Reauthorized by House

On June 26, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) which includes a provision to reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), originally included in der the Energy Bill of 2005. If passed in the Senate and signed by President Obama, DERA will be reauthorized through 2016. Currently, it is set to expire in 2011. To track the status of this legislation, please visit

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | July 6, 2009

CA Pollution Rule Approved by EPA

EPA has given California the go-ahead to implement its more stringent fuel economy requirements to reduce the State’s impact on global warming. Other states are likely to match.

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | May 27, 2009

Philadelphia Inquirer Press Hit on Biodiesel Station

From the Inky:

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | May 27, 2009


WHO:    Mayor Michael A. Nutter

               Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson

               Fleet Manager James Muller

WHAT:  Mayor Nutter will announce the opening of a biofuels refueling station.  Currently 100 trash and recycling trucks use biofuel.  Each vehicle running on alternative fuel produces 20% less hydrocarbons and results in a 10% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gases.

WHERE:                Biodiesel Fueling Station, 3303 S. 63rd St. near Passyunk Ave

WHEN:                  Wednesday May 27, 2009                            12:00 pm

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | May 20, 2009

Green Works Philadelphia Unveiled

Greenworks Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia’s comprehensive plan for sustainability, was officially launched on April 29, 2009. Greenworks is designed as a living document that will evolve over the next few years, with the ultimate goal of putting Philadelphia on the path to becoming the “greenest city in America” by 2015.

This goal will be achieved with the support of several Philadelphia Diesel Difference programs, including the hundreds of diesel retrofits completed or in progress on a variety of City-owned as well as private vehicles. The proposed Compressed Natural Gas station slated for southwest Philadelphia, the city’s ongoing use of B20 biodiesel fuel, and anti-idling efforts are also included in the plan. Many PDD partners are also set to participate in Greenworks projects, including the Philadelphia International Airport, SEPTA, the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, and the School District.

To view the plan, please visit

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | May 20, 2009

Maryland Celebrates Progress on Reducing Diesel Emissions

BALTIMORE (May 14, 2009) — The State of Maryland today celebrated progress to date and unveiled future plans for investing in clean diesel technology using funding allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. On display at the event were dredging units retrofitted in 2008 with Diesel Particulate Filters to emit 90% less particulate pollution. Other projects completed to date include retrofitted waste haulers, school and transit buses. Proposed projects under the ARRA stimulus program include modifications of marine vessels, construction equipment, school buses, and drayage trucks. For more information, please visit the Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative’s home page at:

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | April 1, 2009

EPA proposing tighter ship emission regulations

From Rachel Zack, Clean Air Council’s Green Ports Intern

“The head of the Environmental Protection Agency wants to limit emissions along the nation’s coastline and within its seaports, just as the agency does along highways, with tougher pollution standards on large commercial ships. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday that the United States and Canada have applied to the International Maritime Organization to create a 230-mile emissions control area around much of their coastline. The move is intended to ensure the shipping industry does its part to improve the air quality of major seaport communities. Ships moving through the zone would be subject to the tougher emissions standards.”

– Victor Epstein, Journalist for the Associated Press

The new EPA proposal for a 230 mile buffer zone, or Emissions Control Area (ECA), comes as a relief to the Philadelphia Clean Ports Initiative.  Cities and ports do not have jurisdiction over regulating the incoming vessels and thus it is imperative to have federal advocates pushing for more environmental regulations at the international level. The Clean Air Council has been working with Philadelphia and New Jersey on decreasing the amount of emissions  released into our nearby communities.

Emissions from shipping vessels come from bunker fuel which, when burned, releases high levels of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates. These emissions are believed to be directly related to the high levels of cancer and asthma in communities that neighbor the ports. Some larger ports, like the Port of Long Beach, are able to create voluntary programs that provide incentives for vessels that reduce their speed—one method of decreasing emissions. However, many ports are not currently in position to creatively address the issue or finance incentive based programs. The current EPA proposal alleviates the burden of managing vessel emissions from small ports without much authority, and creates a far better nationwide standards.

It may seem that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s proposal for an ECA is a belated reaction to years of unregulated air pollution, but Jackson is exercising important forethought with this new proposal. The price of petroleum, though relatively low right now, is unquestionably going to increase again in the near future. Soon, it will be far more reasonable to ship goods from port to port than to truck it. This new proposal will improve air quality standards for these areas without threatening the livelihood of the community members. Furthermore, the EPA proposal could create a new demand for emissions reduction technologies which creates a new market in these economically difficult times.

Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | February 28, 2009

IMO Rules To Cut Emissions From Oceangoing Vessels

From Professional Mariner:

New standards adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will require oceangoing vessels (OGVs) to reduce noxious emissions by at least 15 percent starting in 2011, with stricter limits for ships operating in designated areas already experiencing air-quality problems.

The guidelines, adopted Oct. 9, 2008, by the 168 Member States of the IMO, are contained in amendments to Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, also known as MARPOL. The amendments dovetail a proposal submitted to the IMO by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2007.

In addition to tightening emission and fuel-quality standards on the open sea, the amendments allow the IMO to designate Emission Control Areas (ECAs) where stricter guidelines will apply regarding the discharge of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter. To obtain ECA status, countries must petition the IMO. The EPA is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, State Department and other federal agencies to prepare an application to acquire the designation for America’s coasts.

“In today’s global economy, the number of ships doing business at U.S. ports is increasing at a rapid rate,” the EPA stated in October. “Very few of these ships are U.S.-flagged, and the fuel they burn when entering U.S. waters has typically been obtained elsewhere, at ports all over the world. This new IMO program directly addresses emissions from these foreign-flagged vessels. It requires them to meet stringent standards whenever they operate in designated ECAs.”

For vessels flagged and registered in the United States, EPA standards will continue to apply for engines with a displacement of less than 30 liters per cylinder (Category 1 and Category 2 engines). For engines with a displacement equal to or greater than 30 liters per cylinder (Category 3), the new IMO standards will apply.

The main propulsion for most oceangoing vessels, or OGVs — containerships, oil tankers, bulk carriers and cruise ships — is provided by Category 3 engines that are subject to Tier 1 emission standards. The standards were adopted by the EPA in 2003 and are equivalent to IMO limits. Tier 1 is the lowest level on a scale extending to Tier 3 to govern pollutants.

Under the new IMO guidelines, new Category 3 engines will have to meet Tier 2 standards in January 2011, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in NOx, according to the EPA. Engines installed before 2000, which currently are not subject to Tier 1 standards, must meet that requirement starting in 2011. The provision, expected to reduce NOx by 15 percent to 20 percent from current uncontrolled levels, is subject to the availability of certified engine-upgrade kits. In ECAs, new engines will have to meet Tier 3 standards starting in January 2016, resulting in an 80 percent reduction in NOx.

For fuel, the global cap for sulfur content will be 30,000 parts per million (ppm) starting in January 2012, with a 5,000 ppm standard going into effect in January 2020. For ships operating in ECAs, the standard will be 10,000 ppm in July 2010 and 1,000 ppm beginning in January 2015 — a 98 percent reduction from current levels.

“Considering the large contribution OGVs make to U.S. air quality problems, especially in port cities, the health benefits from these emission reductions will be very substantial,” the EPA said. “We anticipate many billions of dollars of health and welfare benefits…if an ECA designation is made for U.S. coastlines.”

The Coast Guard and EPA both have enforcement authority for Annex VI provisions, although the Coast Guard typically takes the lead regarding vessel inspections and compliance actions. Upon passing inspection, ships are issued a certificate valid for up to five years. Under the IMO’s NOx Technical Code, the ship operator is responsible for in-use compliance, not the engine manufacturer.

For more information on the IMO amendments, go to

Rich Miller

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