The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative would push to create new and leverage existing technology, such as idle reduction features aboard heavy-duty trucks. Officials hope to reduce oxides of nitrogen, or NOx, and other air pollutants, but NJ Motor Truck Association Executive Director Gail Toth says it needs to be cost efficient.
“85 percent of most of the transportation of everything you use moves by truck. So, it’s pretty significant,” Toth said. “When you increase the cost of the equipment it also increases the cost of what we spend at the cash registers.”
The EPA is seeking input from industry, community groups, and members of the public to help revise emission standards for heavy-duty trucks and engines.
“To inform policy development,” said Pete Lopez, EPA Regional Administrator for Region 2. “The question in this case, what do we want to accomplish. The goal simply is to make sure that heavy-duty trucks that enter this port, travel in our streets and highways are cleaner.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is applauding EPA's efforts.
“Far too many of the vehicles are dirty older trucks driving through fence line communities,” he said. “By replacing them with clean burning new models the Port and it’s tenants would decrease particular matter in the air while increasing worker health and modernizing their fleets.”
EPA intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2020.