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EPA final rule reduces air toxics from existing stationary diesel engines (2/19)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is setting the first standards that will reduce emissions of formaldehyde, benzene, acrolein and other toxic air pollutants from certain stationary diesel engines, according to an agency press statement. These pollutants are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems and environmental damage.

“Improving air quality is one the agency’s top priorities,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Controlling emissions from these engines will save lives and protect our communities from serious health problems, including heart attacks, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”

The emission limits apply to existing diesel engines meeting certain criteria for age, size, and use. EPA estimates that more than 900,000 of the engines generate electricity and power equipment at industrial, agricultural and other facilities. The engines also are used in emergencies to produce electricity and pump water for flood and fire control. Emergency engines used at most residences, hospitals and other institutional facilities, and commercial facilities such as shopping centers are not covered by this rule.

To meet the emissions requirements, owners and operators of the largest of the engines will need to install emissions controls, such as catalysts, to engine exhaust systems. Emergency engines covered by this rule need to comply with operating requirements that will limit emissions.

EPA estimates that the rule will reduce annual air toxics emissions by 1,000 tons, particle pollution by 2,800 tons, carbon monoxide emissions by 14,000 tons, and organic compound emissions by 27,000 tons when fully implemented in 2013.

EPA will issue final emissions standards for similar existing stationary engines that burn gasoline, natural gas and landfill gas, known as spark ignition engines, by August 10, 2010.

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