EPA report says emissions standards may need strengthening

| Monday, September 22, 2003

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft report saying current emissions standards it introduced in 1997 may not be adequate and should be tightened further.

 In a 400-page paper, the EPA says new standards – including the reduction of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines made after 2002 – do not adequately protect the elderly and people with respiratory problems.

 The findings could become the basis for even more demanding pollution-control requirements to reduce the amount of microscopic soot emitted by trucks, cars, factories and power plants. The analysis recommends the allowable concentrations be reduced further as much as 50 percent.

 The EPA soon expects to determine what areas of the United States may have to impose additional pollution-control measures because their air is so dirty it does not meet the standard. This could put the EPA at odds with industry groups like trucking fleets and engine manufacturers, which complained the 1997 rules were based on uncertain science and would cost industry tens of billions of dollars.

 The industry challenged the standards to the Supreme Court, which eventually upheld them.