The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday stricter restrictions on emissions from trucks and buses.
"Seventy-two million people are estimated to live near truck freight routes in America, and they are more likely to be people of color and those with lower incomes. These overburdened communities are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems, among other serious and costly health effects," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in the announcement Monday. "These new standards will drastically cut dangerous pollution by harnessing recent advancements in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry as it advances toward a zero-emissions transportation future."
The new, stronger standards, seek to reduce emissions of soot and smog-forming nitrogen oxides from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines by 60% by 2045, starting with models built in 2027, according to the EPA.
The action is consistent with President Joe Biden's "Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks" executive order signed in August 2021.
"The Administrator of the EPA shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, consider beginning work on a rulemaking under the Clean Air Act to establish new oxides of nitrogen standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles beginning with model year 2027 and extending through and including at least model year 2030." the order said.
The new standards, according to the EPA, will reduce premature deaths by 2,100, cause 6,700 less emergency room visits and hospital admissions, reduce asthma onset in children by 18,000 cases, reduce cases of asthma symptoms and allergic rhinitis symptoms by 3.1 million, prevent 78,000 lost days of work, and prevent 1.1 million lost school days for children.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday that the new standards will move the country forward to a "zero-emission" future.
"Our transportation sector has reached a turning point," Harris said. "We have the technology to transition to a zero-emission fleet. Our administration is working together, all of us, to make that possibility a reality. We can address the climate crisis and grow our economy at the same time."
Money to implement the new standards is coming from the recently passed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by Biden earlier this year.
In addition to truck emissions, the money will upgrade the fleet of transit and school buses to electric power, spending $1.1 billion to clean and electrify public transportation buses alone, according to the White House.
Overall, Biden plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030, which would be comparable to 2005 levels, the White House said in a statement Monday.
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