Northeast Diesel Collaborative Honors Groups For Reducing Air Pollution

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Northeast Diesel Collaborative – a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state agencies, and private and nonprofit groups – today recognized four organizations for their outstanding leadership and efforts in reducing diesel emissions. The collaborative honored several agencies and organizations from Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont as part of its second annual Northeast Diesel Collaborative Breathe Easy Leadership Awards Program.

The Northeast Diesel Collaborative, comprising the six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, works to reduce diesel emissions, improve public health, and promote clean diesel technology. It brings together the collective resources and expertise of EPA, several state environmental agencies and private sector companies to address emissions from existing diesel-powered vehicles and equipment.

“Pollution from diesel engines is linked to asthma, respiratory problems, heart attacks and even premature death, and is especially dangerous to children and the elderly,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Region 2 Administrator. “Reducing air pollution from diesel engines has enormous health benefits and translates directly into fewer hospitalizations, less missed days of work and school and a better quality of life for everyone.”

“Diesel emissions in the northeast continue to pose health risks to the residents of the region. The demonstrated leadership and efforts put forth by the 2011 award winners will help bring cleaner air and healthier communities to our region,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

The Northeast Diesel Collaborative Breathe Easy awards are given for outstanding service in reducing air pollution to protect human health and the environment. The winners achieve these goals by taking actions such as retrofitting and replacing older diesel engines, reducing idling from diesel engines, developing education and outreach campaigns to promote diesel emissions reduction and promoting cleaner fuels.

The 2011 Northeast Diesel Collaborative Breathe Easy Leadership Awardees are:

Leadership Award in New York
Port Commerce Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is being recognized for efforts under its 2009 “Clean Air Strategy for the Port of NY & NJ,” designed to reduce pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions from all port-related sources. The Port Authority incorporated input from local and state agencies, tenants and customers, as well as environmental and community stakeholders into its strategy. Current initiatives underway include the Truck Replacement Program, the Truck Phase Out Plan, and the Ocean-Going Vessel Low-Sulfur Fuel Program.

“The Port Authority is committed to working with our private and public partners to implement our Clean Air Strategy,” said Port Commerce Director Rick Larrabee. “Reducing air pollution at our ports is an important environmental objective and to achieve this goal, the Port Authority has instituted a multi-prong strategy to reduce emissions across port operations.”

Leadership Award in New Jersey (Honorable Mention):
Transportation Clean Air Measures Program, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Protecting the environment is a key goal in the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s mission statement and in its long-range Plan 2035. To further reduce transportation-related air pollutants, the NJTPA has proactively advanced an innovative Transportation Clean Air Measures program. This ongoing NJTPA program was developed to identify clean air efforts not being generated through existing programs. The NJTPA Board of Trustees and a multi-agency advisory committee guide the effort. In addition to reducing emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases, secondary benefits emerged; including reduced vehicle miles traveled, reduced congestion and fuel consumption, a targeted response to environmental justice issues and increased community awareness regarding noise and air quality.

“The success of the NJTPA’s Transportation Clean Air Measures program is the result of our board’s strong leadership on the critical issue of improving air quality,” said Mary K. Murphy, NJTPA Executive Director. “We are continually looking for new and innovative ways to reduce emissions and make our region cleaner, healthier and more prosperous.”

In New England, a Breathe Easy Leadership Award was given to Green Space and Recreation Committee, Chelsea Collaborative, Inc., a collaborative effort to reduce exposure to diesel pollution in Chelsea and Everett, Massachusetts. Casella Waste Systems Inc. of Chittenden County, Vermont received an Honorable Mention for replacing diesel refuse trucks with trucks powered by natural gas.

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