Diesel Technology Forum criticizes emissions report

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The Diesel Technology Forum has criticized a Feb. 22 Clean Air Task Force report that blames diesel engine soot emissions for 21,000 premature deaths among Americans each year.

The industry group contends that diesel emissions make up only a very small part of particulate nationwide and that pollution rates from diesel emissions are decreasing.

“Since 1994, engines have been manufactured to operate smoke-free, and tailpipe emissions from trucks and buses sold today have been reduced by over 80 percent compared to engines built in the late 1980s,” said Allen Schaeffer, the forum’s executive director. “Diesel emissions represent a very small portion of the nationwide particulate inventory as cataloged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Only 1.49 percent of particulate matter and 4.38 percent of fine particulates were created by diesel engine emissions, Schaeffer said. “By 2007, manufacturers will have reduced key exhaust components by another 90 percent.”

The Clean Air Task Force is a non-profit advocacy organization based in Boston. According to its state-by-state study, New York had the most premature deaths in 2004 from diesel fumes, at 2,332; California was second with 1,784; Pennsylvania third with 1,170; New Jersey fourth with 880; and Texas fifth with 879.