In the midst of an online shopping boom, the Environmental Protection Agency proposes reducing nitrogen oxide and carbon emissions, but some environmentalists are calling for tighter limitations.
On Monday, the Biden administration recommended reducing smog-forming pollutants from new tractor-trailers, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles, as well as emissions that are warming the world.
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new regulation to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from engines in some of America’s largest automobiles. Nitrogen oxides are dangerous and reactive chemicals that may trigger asthma attacks. In the same suggestion, the EPA will look into reducing the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted by these cars.
The proposed smog regulation is the first time those heavy-duty tailpipe rules have been updated in two decades, and it comes as Biden looks for methods to promote his environmental agenda outside of Congress. The rules would apply to a wide range of vehicles, including school buses, delivery vans, and moving trucks, as well as large 18-wheelers transporting freight on roads.
Diesel-powered truck pollution has a disproportionately negative impact on low-income and minority populations living near roads, ports, and other frequently traveled areas. During the epidemic, an increase in delivery orders to people’s homes has increased air pollution in certain communities near the dozens of warehouses erected in recent years to meet America’s rising online shopping habits.
In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael Regan stated, “These overcrowded populations are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, among other significant and expensive health impacts.”
In Manhattan, for example, all but one city bus terminal is located north of 96th Street in Harlem or other historically minority districts. On the opposite side of the nation, pollution from trucks transporting products out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has a significant impact on the health of the numerous Hispanic communities that line I-710 and other inland routes.
“There are two dozen towns along that route that receive many hundred thousand trucks and autos every day,” said Ed Avol, a clinical preventive medicine professor at the University of Southern California.
While some environmentalists applauded the new idea, others chastised the Biden administration for not doing more to promote the sale of pollution-free electric vehicles.
“Any regulation that does not contain requirements that some of these new trucks be electrified appears to be a wasted opportunity,” said Paul Cort, an attorney with the Earthjustice law firm who previously worked at the EPA’s Office of General Counsel.
When gasoline, diesel, and other fossil fuels burn at high temperatures, nitrogen oxides are produced, and inhaling them can cause asthma attacks and other health issues. These gases contribute to smog, soot, and acid rain when they are released into the atmosphere.
According to the EPA, 72 million people reside within 200 meters (220 yards) of a truck freight route. Many of these groups that have “greater exposures” to these contaminants, according to Avol, “tend to be more at risk in terms of ill health.”
The proposed nitrogen oxides limits would apply to heavy-duty vehicles built after Model Year 2027, and would reduce average emissions by 90% below current federal norms within four years. If passed, they would bring the entire country into compliance with California’s heavy-duty vehicle regulations. For 46 days, the plan will be accessible for public feedback.
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