• Please join us for the CAB Community Meeting, usually held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00PM. Please check Posts for speaker information, time, and location.

    Community meetings are generally held at Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA

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Clean Air Resolution: Cumberland County, PA

CLEAN AIR RESOLUTION

Resolution Regarding Air Quality in Cumberland County

Authored by the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania

ADD YOUR NAME TO THE RESOLUTION

SEE CURRENT SIGNERS

Whereas,

pollution from diesel engine emissions has been proven to be harmful to our health. Diesel exhaust can contain 40 hazardous air pollutants, 15 of which are known human carcinogens. Fine particles from diesel emissions have been linked to heart attacks, asthma, stroke, stunted lung growth and premature death. Children and seniors are at the greatest risk from these emissions1; and

Whereas,

air quality has been shown to be especially degraded in Cumberland County and EPA has designated the County as being in non-attainment of fine particle (PM 2.5) and ozone standards. The average lifetime diesel soot cancer risk here is 393 times greater than the accepted EPA cancer level of one in one million2. Cumberland County is among the 2% most polluted counties in the nation for fine particle pollution3; and

Whereas,

in August 2005 more than 100 doctors in the region submitted a paid advertisement to local media citing statistics about air pollution and attributing the problem primarily to fine particle pollution from diesel exhaust and the heavy concentration of trucks in the area; and

Whereas,

“the earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it,” as the Psalmist says, and human beings are called to be responsible stewards of God’s creation;

Therefore, the undersigned members of the Cumberland County faith community hereby ask that:

1. Planning and municipal authorities in Cumberland County take air quality factors into account in land use planning decisions, particularly with regard to diesel trucks and buses that contribute to air quality degradation.

2. Cumberland County enact ordinances to limit air pollution from the idling of diesel-powered vehicles.

3. Truck facilities in Cumberland County implement programs to reduce diesel emissions, including installation of electrification units to eliminate the need for extensive diesel-powered truck idling.

4. School districts in Cumberland County enact policies limiting school bus idling and aggressively pursue grant funding and programs to retrofit and upgrade school bus diesel engines with devices to help control harmful emissions.

CITATIONS

1. Clean Air Task Force, “Diesel and Health in America,” February 2005. Available online at http://www.catf.us/publications/view/83

2. Clean Air Task Force, Diesel Project. Available at http://www.catf.us/projects/diesel/

3. American Lung Association, “State of the Air 2005.” Available online at http://lungaction.org/reports/stateoftheair2005.html

4. The Sentinel: Carlisle, PA. August 23, 2005

The Health Risks of Diesel Idling: Tami Biddle, Clean Air Board

The Health Risks of Diesel Idling (30 KB)

by Tami Biddle

Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania

October 2008

In recent years scientists have begun to understand a great deal about the effects of a type of air pollution referred to as “particulate matter.”  One type that is especially worrisome is called PM 2.5, meaning matter that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller in size.  This means, roughly, about one-thirtieth the size of a human hair.  The reason that PM 2.5 is dangerous is because the particles are small enough to penetrate into the deepest part of the lungs. And this, in turn, means that they are directly linked to asthma, bronchitis, and chronic respiratory illness.  Scientists have also linked PM 2.5 to low birth weight babies, heart disease, some cancers, and premature deaths in elderly people.

Children are more vulnerable to the health risks of PM 2.5 because their immune and respiratory systems are still developing. Also, children breathe up to 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults.  The breathing of fine particles by children is believed to cause both acute and chronic respiratory problems such as asthma.  Forty percent of all US asthma cases are in children, yet children make up only 25 percent of the US population.[1]

The sources of PM 2.5 include fuel combustion from automobiles, power plants, wood burning, and industrial processes.  But a major contributor to PM 2.5 levels is diesel powered vehicles such as trucks and buses. These fine particles are also formed in the atmosphere when gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides — all of which are also products of fuel combustion — are transformed in the air by chemical reactions.  Fine particles are attracted to water, thus contributing to acid rain.  Acid rain affects all things biological, and can have direct effects on human health.  For all these reasons, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken an initiative to monitor and address fine particles in the atmosphere.

The seriousness of the heath risks posed by PM 2.5, and the special impact of particulate matter on children, has prompted many communities to start to address the problem in multiple ways.  One of the most important has been to encourage the limitation of idling by school buses.  Each year, over 21,000 school buses transport 1.5 million children to schools in Pennsylvania.[2] Restricting diesel idling would improve the health of Pennsylvania’s children, and the health of the drivers who transport them each day.


[1] Environmental Protection Agency   http://www.epa.gov/region4/sesd/pm25/p2.htm

[2] Clean Air Council   http://www.cleanair.org

Testimony before the Environmental Quality Board by the Rev. Duane Fickeisen

February 13, 2008

Testimony before the Environmental Quality Board by the Rev. Duane Fickeisen (PDF)

Harrisburg, PA

Testimony before the Environmental Quality Board

Good afternoon. My name is Duane Fickeisen and I am one of the pastors of the Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley in Boiling Springs. I also serve on the board of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania. I speak as a religious leader in support of the proposed regulation of idling.

Thank you for the efforts you have made to craft an effective and reasonable proposed regulation. I feel it is an excellent example of citizens and government working together to improve the quality of life in our state.

I am concerned about the health impacts of PM2.5 in the air we breathe. Members of the congregation I serve reside throughout the Cumberland Valley. Several of them suffer from respiratory and cardiac ailments. Some of them have expressed to me the belief that high PM2.5 levels impact their breathing. They have noticed that they are especially affected on days when the Air Quality Index is high, primarily due to fine particulates. This continues to have serious effects on the quality of their lives.

While the Carlisle/Harrisburg area is among the worst in the nation for fine particulate air pollution, other parts of Pennsylvania — especially the Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Philadelphia areas — also experience unhealthy levels of PM2.5.

It is my understanding of the medical research on effects of exposure to fine particulates that no safe level has been established, that even relatively small reductions in exposure have been estimated to provide significant health benefits, and that even short-term exposure to high concentrations increases the risk of heart attack. Further, I understand that exposure to fine particulates causes abnormal lung development in children that is irreversible.

I am especially concerned about the people who are frequently exposed to high concentrations of PM2.5 for long periods, including those who spend much of their time near diesel exhaust sources — on highways, at or near warehouses and trucking facilities, in or near school busses, for example. Professional drivers, highway construction crews, police and other emergency responders, and school children seem particularly vulnerable as does anyone who lives or works within 1000 feet of a highway, truck route, or trucking facility.

My religion teaches that we have a compelling responsibility to care for every person in our community — to practice a radical hospitality that cares for all. We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We also teach, along with virtually all of the world’s religions, that

we are called to be effective stewards of the Earth. Unitarian Universalists are called to respect the interdependent web of all existence. Whether you arrive at the call to stewardship from an understanding that God created it, saw that it was good, and charged us to care for it; from the belief that we owe it to future generations to protect the planet; or from the standpoint that it just makes sense not to foul our own nest, I think most people would agree that we should take our stewardship seriously.

Not only that, but the Commonwealth’s Constitution includes a declaration of rights, which includes this language in Section 27, titled Natural Resources and the Public Estate:

“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

That seems pretty clear to me. As an agency of the Commonwealth, as one of the trustees of these resources, the people have a right to expect that you’ll act to protect, conserve, and maintain clean air.

The proposed regulation is balanced. It grants what seems an appropriate time line for the installation of alternative ways for drivers to maintain comfort in truck cabs during rest periods. With the rising costs of fuel, installation of alternative systems is cost effective.

I don’t expect that this regulation alone will solve all the problems of fine particulates in our air. It may not even bring us into attainment with Federal air quality standards, but I do believe it will be helpful, that it has the potential to make a difference, and that it will not be unfair or burdensome to drivers.

Exposure to high levels of PM2.5 impacts the quality of life of people who suffer from respiratory ailments and reduces their life expectancy. Children who are exposed to it may never develop normal lung capacity, with permanent impacts on their lives.

Our Constitution asserts that clean air is a right of the people and promises us that the Commonwealth will protect it. From a religious and ethical perspective, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth’s resources, including the very air be breathe.

The proposed regulation would be a step toward fulfilling the role of trustee for public natural resources. I urge your adoption of it.

Thank you.

Good afternoon. My name is Duane Fickeisen and I am one of the pastors of the Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley in Boiling Springs. I also serve on the board of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania. I speak as a religious leader in support of the proposed regulation of idling.
Thank you for the efforts you have made to craft an effective and reasonable proposed regulation. I feel it is an excellent example of citizens and government working together to improve the quality of life in our state.
I am concerned about the health impacts of PM2.5 in the air we breathe. Members of the congregation I serve reside throughout the Cumberland Valley. Several of them suffer from respiratory and cardiac ailments. Some of them have expressed to me the belief that high PM2.5 levels impact their breathing. They have noticed that they are especially affected on days when the Air Quality Index is high, primarily due to fine particulates. This continues to have serious effects on the quality of their lives.
While the Carlisle/Harrisburg area is among the worst in the nation for fine particulate air pollution, other parts of Pennsylvania — especially the Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Philadelphia areas — also experience unhealthy levels of PM2.5.
It is my understanding of the medical research on effects of exposure to fine particulates that no safe level has been established, that even relatively small reductions in exposure have been estimated to provide significant health benefits, and that even short-term exposure to high concentrations increases the risk of heart attack. Further, I understand that exposure to fine particulates causes abnormal lung development in children that is irreversible.
I am especially concerned about the people who are frequently exposed to high concentrations of PM2.5 for long periods, including those who spend much of their time near diesel exhaust sources — on highways, at or near warehouses and trucking facilities, in or near school busses, for example. Professional drivers, highway construction crews, police and other emergency responders, and school children seem particularly vulnerable as does anyone who lives or works within 1000 feet of a highway, truck route, or trucking facility.
My religion teaches that we have a compelling responsibility to care for every person in our community — to practice a radical hospitality that cares for all. We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We also teach, along with virtually all of the world’s religions, that
we are called to be effective stewards of the Earth. Unitarian Universalists are called to respect the interdependent web of all existence. Whether you arrive at the call to stewardship from an understanding that God created it, saw that it was good, and charged us to care for it; from the belief that we owe it to future generations to protect the planet; or from the standpoint that it just makes sense not to foul our own nest, I think most people would agree that we should take our stewardship seriously.
Not only that, but the Commonwealth’s Constitution includes a declaration of rights, which includes this language in Section 27, titled Natural Resources and the Public Estate:
“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
That seems pretty clear to me. As an agency of the Commonwealth, as one of the trustees of these resources, the people have a right to expect that you’ll act to protect, conserve, and maintain clean air.
The proposed regulation is balanced. It grants what seems an appropriate time line for the installation of alternative ways for drivers to maintain comfort in truck cabs during rest periods. With the rising costs of fuel, installation of alternative systems is cost effective.
I don’t expect that this regulation alone will solve all the problems of fine particulates in our air. It may not even bring us into attainment with Federal air quality standards, but I do believe it will be helpful, that it has the potential to make a difference, and that it will not be unfair or burdensome to drivers.
Exposure to high levels of PM2.5 impacts the quality of life of people who suffer from respiratory ailments and reduces their life expectancy. Children who are exposed to it may never develop normal lung capacity, with permanent impacts on their lives.
Our Constitution asserts that clean air is a right of the people and promises us that the Commonwealth will protect it. From a religious and ethical perspective, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth’s resources, including the very air be breathe.
The proposed regulation would be a step toward fulfilling the role of trustee for public natural resources. I urge your adoption of it.
Thank you.

Comments On DEP’s Proposed “Diesel Vehicle Idling; and Auxiliary Power Systems” Rule: Clean Air Council

Comments On DEP’s Proposed “Diesel Vehicle Idling; and Auxiliary Power Systems” Rule

Clean Air Council

January 12, 2008

38 Pa.B. 229

My name is Eric Cheung and I am the Senior Attorney for the Clean Air Council, a non-profit environmental group whose mission is to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean, healthful air. In order to fulfill this mission the Council works on a core set of diverse programs: air pollution, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, waste and recycling, indoor air quality and children’s environmental health. The Council represents the interests of over 7,000 members across Pennsylvania and Delaware, who provide financial support.

Clean Air Council supports PADEP’s proposed statewide anti-idling rule for diesel engines. When evaluating strategies to provide energy cleanly – whether for transportation or electric power – the Council places conservation at the top of its list. The cleanest unit of energy is the one that is not consumed. On the transportation side shutting off truck or bus engines when the vehicle has stopped should be as commonplace a practice as turning off the light switch when leaving a room. Stopping unnecessary idling reduces air pollution, saves individuals money, minimizes global warming gas emissions, and improves energy security.

Clean Air Council has long been aware of the impact of heavy duty vehicle diesel emissions on the health of Pennsylvania residents and has participated in initiatives to reduce them. From organizing clean diesel conferences, to advocating for the increased use of alternative fuels to diesel, to lobbying Philadelphia’s regional transit authority to replace its buses with hybrid electric models. Recently, the Council completed an Air Quality Assessment Report for the Carlisle Area, with a special emphasis on the impact of diesel emissions from truck traffic and recommendations for addressing this problem. It also spearheaded a campaign to encourage Pennsylvania school districts to voluntarily limit their school bus idling. Since 2003 the Council has been the co-administrator of the Philadelphia Diesel Difference Working Group, which has worked with local truck and bus fleets to retrofit their diesel engines with pollution control technologies. As an expert on the impact of diesel emissions and long-standing advocate for their reduction, the Council is excited to see PADEP announce this rule.

Petroleum-based diesel fuel is a significant source of both ozone-forming NOx compounds and harmful fine particulates. Among all highway vehicles, diesel-powered trucks and buses contribute 44% of the NOx and 75% of the fine particulates. Both of these pollutants cause harmful respiratory symptoms, trigger asthma attacks and can lead to premature deaths. Both are of particular concern to the 1.5 million school children in Pennsylvania who are transported to schools every day primarily by diesel-powered buses. Ozone and fine particulates have a disproportionately greater impact on children, because their lungs are still developing and they can breathe up to 50 percent more air per body weight than adults. Diesel exhaust is also known to contain toxic air contaminants – over 40 have been identified. Anti-idling will reduce the combustion of the diesel fuel that results in these harmful emissions.

Seven counties in PA are not in attainment of the current federal ozone health standards and 21 counties do not meet the standards for fine particulate. With stronger standards for both pollutants coming, Pennsylvania can expect to see more of its counties to be in non-attainment. While the 2006 ultra low sulfur requirement certainly has had an impact on fine particulate emissions, more significant reductions can only occur with changes to the engines themselves. Moreover, desulfurized fuel does nothing for NOx compounds that form ozone. Given that the federal health standards are becoming more and more stringent, Pennsylvania will need to use every regulatory tool it can devise to ensure the State achieves compliance. Failure to do so could lead to sanctions under the Clean Air Act such as loss of highway funding. Anti-idling is a relatively uncomplicated tool that will help the state reach compliance of the federal health standards.

With the rising costs of fuel, the Council believes there is an economic incentive to reduce unnecessary idling that will make acceptance of this rule easier. Quite frankly, many drivers and fleet owners are less concerned with the impact their vehicles are having on the environment than they are with the impact transportation costs are having on their bottom line. Much of the unneeded idling is a result of driver habit, apathy and misinformation. Moreover, new technologies like electrified truck stops and auxiliary portable units resolve the cabin comfort reasons for idling. A statewide anti-idling rule may be just the catalyst needed to get heavy duty vehicle operators to do what is in their best interest anyway. The Council recommends a strong education effort coinciding with the roll-out of this rule to ensure maximum support.

Another benefit to Pennsylvania’s anti-idling law will be the synergistic ones it produces. Neighboring states like Maryland, New Jersey and New York have their own anti-idling requirements. The two largest metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and Philadelphia, also have anti-idling rules. Once Pennsylvania’s law goes into effect, it can only reinforce the ones already in place. Conversely, having drivers already familiar with similar laws in neighboring areas, makes it easier for compliance in Pennsylvania. As each jurisdictional authority acts to cut back on unwanted idling, more and more drivers will get the message and will simply practice idling reduction as a matter of course, regardless of where they are.

Other benefits of the anti-idling rule include a reduction in greenhouse gases and foreign oil dependency. Each gallon of diesel that is burned produces 22 pounds of carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming. Each gallon of petroleum diesel is most likely to have come from foreign oil sources like the Persian Gulf. Both the global environment and America’s energy security benefit as less diesel is burned as a result of this rule.

On a final note, the Council hopes that PADEP takes all the necessary steps to ensure enforcement of this rule. Philadelphia’s anti-idling ordinance has been in place for over 20 years and yet its effectiveness has been hampered due to a lack of enforcement resources. In order for this new rule to have an impact, it is essential that local enforcement agencies are educated about the rule and are willing to take on enforcement responsibilities. Furthermore, citizens should also be made aware of this rule and a number they can call to complain about idling should be established. The Council’s experience has been that governmental action can only be enhanced by community buy-in and support.

A rule that is better for the air and for people’s wallets seems like a no-brainer, so it is surprising that implementation of this rule would put Pennsylvania among a minority of states to pass such a requirement. It is not often that Pennsylvania is in a position to take a leading role among the states on an environmental initiative. This appears to be just such an opportunity and the Council hopes the State follows through.

Lastly, Clean Air Council would like to acknowledge and express gratitude for the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania’s efforts in pushing for this rule. In a short time this burgeoning organization has established itself as one of the State’s more influential air quality advocates.

Eric Cheung, Esq.

More information about the Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act

Visit the Clean Air Board website for more information about the Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act:

  • Full text of the Senate Bill no. 295, Act 128
  • School District Responsibilities
  • Design Specifications for the No Idling Sign
  • FAQ

Additional Resources:

American Transportation Research Institute: Compendium of USA Idling Regulations

List of Idle Reduction Technologies for Sleeper Berth Trucks

Google Search: Auxiliary Power Systems

DEP: Idling Reduction Regulation Removes Toxins from Air, Saves Trucking Companies Millions

Stationary Idle Reduction Technology (Available at 11 locations across PA)

Last Requirement of Anti-Idling Law to Take Effect May 1, 2010: Sentinel News

Last Requirement of Anti-Idling Law to Take Effect May 1, 2010

April 30, 2010: The Sentinel News

Staff Reports

The last part of Pennsylvania’s Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act will take effect Saturday, taking away the temporary exemption allowing long-haul trucks to idle during mandated rest periods.

The exemption was included in the law to give operators time to install battery-operated heaters or small onboard generators, so that they would not rely on engine idling for cabin heat or cooling. All trucks and buses will now be limited to five minutes of idling in any hour, unless equipped with a new cleaner engine with a California sticker.

Signs and posters will go up along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and interstate highways reminding truck drivers of the state’s “No-Idle” law.

“We expect the No-Idle Law to improve air quality near truck stops and rest areas,” said Thomas Au, president of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania. “By restricting idling for trucks and buses, the law will reduce the public’s exposure to diesel emissions that can cause asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.”

CAB helped enact the law in 2008, many of whose requirements became effective last year.