A tree grows in Brooklyn -- it's a fine thing

| 6/20/2002

Six companies whose trucks, buses and vans have been cited as frequent violators of an anti-pollution law against idling have agreed to plant 100 trees as part of a settlement with the New York State Attorney General's office, Reuters reports.

State law calls for a penalty of $250 to $15,000 if vehicles with diesel engines are left running for longer than five minutes while parked. New York officials said instead of levying a fine, it would make sense for offenders to plant trees to counter emissions that may contribute to asthma and other health consequences.

PepsiCo Inc.'s Frito-Lay Inc., Greyhound Lines Inc. and Gray Line New York Tours, Community Coach Inc., Leisure Lines Inc. and Suburban Trails Inc. will pay a total of $103,000 for trees to be planted in neighborhoods like Central Harlem, the South Bronx and Fort Greene in Brooklyn.

As part of the settlement, the six companies will train their drivers about the state law, monitor their compliance for three years and pay penalties of $1,000 to $5,000 per idling violation. New York officials said the settlement creates company-wide policies, which makes more sense than levying fines on individual vehicles.