Air Quality

France to End Sale of Gasoline and Diesel-Powered Cars by 2040

On July 6 France joined Norway and India in planning to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars. France’s deadline is 2040, but auto maker Volvo has already stated that in 2019 all their new models will be either hybrids or fully electric.

EPA Issues Standards for Heavy Truck GHG Emissions

As the final move to implement reductions in carbon pollution according to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan of June 2013, on August 16 the EPA issued final GHG emission standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles. Issued jointly with the National Traffic Safety Administration the intent is that by 2025 US trucks will produce 10 pct less carbon dioxide and consume 10 pct less fuel than at present. Using technology that is currently available, the regulations will be applied to the vehicle model years 2021 to 2027.

A statement from the International Council on Clean Transportation reads:

The agencies are to be commended for a very rigorous stakeholder engagement and regulatory development process, which has produced the most comprehensive and technically ambitious regulation for commercial vehicle efficiency in the world. This far-sighted regulation will continue to drive the development and deployment of cost-effective fuel-saving technologies.

Over the lifetime of all the 2018–2027 vehicles impacted from this rule, the agencies estimate over $200 billion net societal benefit for the trucks, trailers, and engines affected by this regulation. Of that, the largest part of the benefits are about $160 billion in fuel savings. Rippling through the economy, this would mean hundreds of dollars per household per year. And we will reap all of these fuel savings and economic benefits while keeping over 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Talk about a big win-win on big trucks!

EPA Finds Cause To Regulate GHG Emissions From Commercial Jets

On August 15, one day before announcing final regulations for heavy duty vehicles, the EPA took the first step towards curtailing GHG emissions from commercial aircraft with a finding that these emissions endanger the public health and welfare. With large commercial jets accounting for 12 pct of all emissions from the US transportation sector and 29 pct of all global aircraft GHG emission, this is significant move towards the Obama Administrations effort to reduce all GHG emissions up to 28 pct by 2025. The finding requires that the EPA develop standards for the regulation of aircraft GHG emission, in alignment with international measures to be taken by the UN agency ICAO.

Hearings on Mon-Fayette Expressway Extension

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Completed in July 2012 at a cost of $1.8 billion, the current stretch of the Mon-Fayette Expressway extends from I-68 near Uniontown WV to Rte 51 in Jefferson Hills. Originally this PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) tollway was intended to travel along the Mon valley, though Hazelwood, and empty out near Brady Street n Oakland. That idea was squashed by Pittsburgh City Council, community groups, and environmentalists; citizens proposed a network of urban boulevards instead.

In a final attempt to complete the tollway, the debt-loaded PTC has proposed routing the last leg of the tollway from Jefferson Hills through Duquesne and across the Mon up Turtle Creek Valley to Monroeville. Citizens wishing to express their views on this more than $1 billion extension of the Mon-Fayette are encouraged to attend one of the following PTC public meetings, all held from 6 to 8 pm:

Tuesday, Aug. 9, Skyview Volunteer Fire Dept., 660 Nobel Drive, West Mifflin

Wednesday, Aug. 10, St. Agnes Center, Carlow University, 3325 Fifth Ave, Oakland

Tuesday, Aug. 16, Gateway Middle School, 4400 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville

Wednesday, Aug. 17, Woodland Hills Jr/Sr. High School, 2550 Greensburg Pike, Churchill

For more information contact Renee Colborn, Manager of Media and Public Relations at 717 939-9551, Mon. – Fri. (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

Groups Urge PAT to ‘Green the Fleet’

In 2005 the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) purchased six hybrid-electric buses. This fall 75 ‘clean-diesel’ buses will replace a number of the old diesel buses. But at a June 24 meeting of the PAT Board members of Pittsburghers for Public Transit were joined by GASP and 350 Pittsburgh in supporting the idea of electric buses being a large part of PAT’s purchase of 200 buses over the next several years. PAT has already tested a couple of electric buses.  Chicago began operating electric buses in  2014, and with the range of the battery-powered buses steadily improving, can Pittsburgh be far behind?

Suit Aims to Reduce Pollution from U. S. Steel Coke Plant Pollution.

After years of being fined and legally challenged for air pollution, on December 17, 2015 DTE Energy announced it would close down the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island. That leaves the U.S. Steel coke plant in Clairton as perhaps the major cause of air pollution in Allegheny County. After an extensive study of the history of violations and agreements with the County, on January 28 the environmental group PennFuture filed notice of intent to file suit against U.S. Steel for failure to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. If U.S. Steel and the EPA can settle the issue with PennFuture in 60 days, then the latter will withdraw the notice to sue. Otherwise, the matter can go to Federal court.

Read the Fall 2017 Sierran



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