Volume 23, Number 14 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 11 - 17, 2010
Nadler’s Federal Motor Carrier Act tries to clean the air, help truckers
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who leads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has introduced a federal bill aimed at reducing dirty fuel emissions and bettering the lives of truck drivers in port areas nationwide.
If the Federal Motor Carrier Act is amended, per this new law, trucks might be required to operate on clean diesel fuel, which would significantly lower air pollution. The bill would grant New York City, Newark and port cities along the West Coast the authority to enforce “clean truck programs” above the national requirements, according to Nadler’s office.
The law could lower the health risks of an estimated 87 million Americans who live and work in port regions on the East and West coasts, including Lower Manhattan.
“Diesel soot from dirty trucks greatly increases rates of asthma, cancer and heart disease in those areas, creating a growing national public health crisis,” Nadler said in a statement.
The average lifetime cancer risk from diesel soot for a Manhattan resident is currently 1 in 882, according to the U.S. Clean Air Task Force, ranking third among 3,109 counties around the nation. The risk is over 1,000 times greater than the U.S. Envrionmental Protection Agency’s acceptable cancer rate of one in one million.
Los Angeles’ Clean Truck Program, the national model, reportedly swapped 6,000 dirty diesel vehicles for clean diesel and alternative energy trucks. As a result, diesel-based air pollution was lowered by approximately 70 percent, the equivalent to removing 200,000 automobiles from the road, according to Nadler’s office.
— Aline Reynolds