10 June 2002

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation have agreed that “curbing pollution from diesel-powered, non-road vehicles and equipment should be a top environmental priority of the Bush Administration”. EPA said the unusual collaboration between OMB and EPA will allow the rulemaking effort to proceed on a “expedited basis”. However, in the same announcement the EPA estimates that the publication of the proposed rule, originally planned for 2002, will be delayed until 2003.

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OMB and EPA have recognized that controlling exhaust emissions from non-road diesel engines will likely require a lower-sulfur grade of fuel than is currently available. “This is an expensive undertaking, and one that must be evaluated carefully in deciding whether and how to require additional desulfurization of diesel fuel,” said the EPA. The Agency will be developing the new nonroad emission standard and fuel requirements in consultation with state and local officials, diesel engine and equipment manufacturers, fuel refiners and marketers, public health experts and environmental organizations, as well as the Departments of Energy, Transportation and Agriculture.

In addition to the new emission standards, the EPA and OMB will also develop other regulatory strategies to reduce emissions from non-road diesel engines, such as: (1) the use of incentives to encourage the early introduction of clean emission control technologies and low sulfur diesel fuel, (2) the potential use of market-based averaging, banking, and trading programs that might include permission to trade emission-reduction credits between off-road and highway engines, thereby stimulating more emission reduction at less cost; (3) the additional emission reduction benefits that can be achieved from existing off-road diesel engines through the use of very low sulfur diesel fuel; and (4) how risks, benefits and costs might vary by type of off-road engine and geographical location of use.

Source: US EPA