TRENTON – New Jersey is nearing a major milestone in its continuing multi-prong effort to reduce harmful emissions from diesel engines, virtually completing the retrofit of nearly 800 NJ Transit older style diesel-engine buses with technology that will control harmful diesel exhausts, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin and NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein announced today.
NJ Transit has installed emissions control technology on many of its older buses as part of a long-term statewide strategy designed to reduce air pollution. The retrofitting work is financed by the State’s Diesel Risk Mitigation Fund, a program created under a 2005 law that requires installation of diesel emission control equipment on older diesel-powered on-road vehicles.
“Exhaust from diesel-powered vehicles, especially older vehicles, is a source of harmful pollutants, and especially impacts residents in our more congested, urban areas,” Martin said. “That’s something we are working to remedy.”
“A cleaner, greener and more sustainable transit fleet is critical to preserving our quality of life in the Garden State,” said Weinstein.
In addition to 760 retrofitted NJ Transit buses, more than 1,200 solid waste collection trucks have had diesel emissions control equipment installed in the past several years in New Jersey. These retrofits and other scheduled retrofits for commercial passenger buses and publicly-owned on-road and non-road vehicles are expected to reduce particulate emissions by more than 100 tons per year statewide.
Additionally, NJ Transit continues to modernize its existing bus fleet, which will result in even more air quality improvements in the state. The agency is replacing 1,145 older buses with new transit-style buses that are equipped with modern emission control devices and which run on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. The new buses feature an improved engine design, and contain a soot filter to reduce particulates and utilize a diesel oxidation catalyst, resulting in an 80 percent reduction in particulate matter and 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions.
Diesel emissions pose a greater cancer risk than any other air pollutant in the state. Diesel emissions contain microscopic particles filled with organic substances and metals. Diesel exhaust is linked to premature deaths, asthma and allergies, strokes, heart and lung disease, chronic respiratory disease and other ailments.
New Jersey’s mandatory diesel retrofit program is one of several strategies the DEP is employing to reduce harmful diesel emissions. Other programs include the mandatory inspection and maintenance of diesel on-road vehicles, enforcement of the State’s anti-idling law, and Gov. Chris Christie’s Executive Order Number 60, which calls for several pilot studies of diesel retrofits at NJDOT construction sites.
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