WASHINGTON, United States -- The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a proposal to drastically reduce emissions of soot and nitrogen oxides from diesel engines by more than 90 percent by 2014.
The national program, launched on April 15, requires stringent controls and reductions of sulfur in diesel fuel to achieve major air quality improvements throughout the USA, said EPA administrator Christie Whitman.
The non-road diesel engine program would directly affect forklifts, tractors and other off-road equipment in the materials handling, construction, agricultural and industrial sectors.
"This action represents a strong commitment to achieve cleaner air and protect the health of all Americans, especially children and the elderly who are more susceptible to diesel pollution," Ms Whitman said.
The proposal would take effect for new engines from 2008 and be fully phased in by 2014.
The EPA, in a report, estimated that, by 2030, the program could prevent about 9,600 premature deaths, 8,300 hospitalizations, 16,000 heart attacks, 5,700 children’s asthma-related hospital visits, 260,000 respiratory problems in children and nearly a million work days lost due to illness.
The public has been invited to comment on the proposal by sending an email to n[email protected] by August 20.
Public hearings will be held in New York on June 10, Chicago on June 12, and Los Angeles on June 17.