Doctors target truck stops in Pennsylvania

| Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Citing clean air concerns, a group of doctors is trying to curtail growth of the trucking industry in Cumberland County, PA.

The group, which consists of 102 doctors from the Carlisle Regional Medical Center, paid for an advertisement in The Patriot-News in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Aug. 23, calling for a halt to the growth of trucking business along the so-called Miracle Mile – a stretch of the Harrisburg Turnpike near Carlisle, PA.

While the doctors did acknowledge the importance of the trucking industry, they said in the advertisement that Carlisle is a “hot spot of diesel pollution.” The group cited statistics from the American Lung Association, which ranks Cumberland County as the 24th most polluted area in the country.

The Miracle Mile is home to several truck stops and Cumberland County has a number of trucking and shipping companies within its borders.

Jim Runk is president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association. His group represents trucking companies. He said efforts of this kind are nothing new in the area.

“They’ve been trying to do that for years,” he told Land Line. “One (county) commissioner wanted to buy land around that area through a grant and then only resell it to light industry. That didn’t work.”

Which is not to say that Runk dismissed the group’s claims outright. 

“We’re working on our behalf to do our part to help clean up the air with cleaner burning fuel and cleaner burning engines,” he said. “We’re trying to do what we can to help the environment.”

Runk cited new Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding cleaner burning diesel and cleaner burning engines that will kick in during 2006 and 2007. He said those regulations should help calm concerns about the area.

“This is a prime location for trucking,” he said. “Once they see what the 2006-2007 regulations are, I don’t think you’re going to see much of an uproar over that again.”

In the meantime, nearby Middlesex Township has approved a resolution to allow IdleAire Technologies Corp. to install 73 of its units at the Petro truck stop there. Pennsylvania has given the company $900,000 to install the units.

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