16 January 2004
In his “State of the State” address, New Jersey’s Governor McGreevey identified diesel truck and bus emissions as contributors to high rates of asthma, premature deaths, and emergency room visits. McGreevey said he would ask the Legislature to enact new laws to reduce the impact of diesel emissions on NJ air quality, with a goal to reduce soot and smog air pollution by 20% in the next decade.
According to press reports, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Campbell said in an interview that the plan would call for businesses to retrofit 25,000 of diesel buses, garbage trucks and construction equipment with emission controls at a cost of $1,500 - $6,000 per engine.
In 1998, the State of New Jersey planned to retrofit diesel vehicles with catalytic converters, but the program has never been implemented.
New Jersey also adopted a “Clean Car Bill”, which was signed by McGreevey into law on Wednesday. The Bill requires the DEP to implement California LEV II emission standards for light duty vehicles starting in 2009. A certain air quality benefit is expected before that date, as car manufacturers will receive credits toward the 2009 requirement for clean cars sold in NJ between 1999 - 2009. In California, the LEV II standards will be phased-in over the period 2004 - 2010.
Last month, the US EPA announced that the entire state of New Jersey will be designated as an ozone nonattainment area. Additionally, seven of New Jersey’s counties are rated among the 25 worst in the USA for air toxics.