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Dump Dirty Diesels in Texas

Diesel pollution poses a serious threat to the health of Texans, particularly in urban areas where a substantial portion of toxic particulate pollution (soot) and ozone forming pollution comes from diesel engines.  

Click Here to Read," Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat"

Texas consumes more diesel fuel than any other state. 
About 8% of all diesel fuel consumed on the highways and about 11% of diesel consumed off- road nationally is consumed in Texas.  There are an estimated 6 million off-road vehicles in Texas.

NAFTA and the opening of our border to Mexican trucks will drastically increase diesel emissions in Texas. 

Over 2/3  of all NAFTA related truck traffic entering the U.S. from Mexico comes through Texas, with 10% percent of all NAFTA related truck traffic coming through Laredo on I -35. ICF consulting predicts a 400% increase in NAFTA related heavy truck traffic between 1995 and 2020.  Two hundred Mexican companies have applied for permits to operate their trucks in the U.S. 

ICF has found that the average Mexican truck emits 30% more NOx pollution per mile than a U.S.-titled truck because the Mexican trucks are typically 16 years old compared to an average age of 5 years for a U.S.-titled truck.

San Antonio will be particularly hard hit by the 400% increase in truck traffic along the I-35 corridor since most of the trucks crossing the Mexican border into Texas use the I-35 corridor to travel north. At San Antonio, trucks can continue north, go east through Houston to the port or the east coast, or westward to El Paso and Los Angeles.

Diesel emissions are a significant source of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in Texas’ ozone non-attainment areas. 

A new study by the Clean Air Task Force (link to www.catf.us/goto/dieselhealth) shows that cleaning up existing diesel engines through retrofits and use of ultra low sulfur diesel can result in 100,000 lives saved in the U.S. between now and 2030. Although the EPA has mandated the phase-in of cleaner new diesel engines and fuels, this does nothing to impact the emissions from existing diesel engines.

Diesel school buses are a health hazard to Texas Children.A child riding in a diesel school bus may be exposed to as much as 4 times the level of toxic diesel exhaust as someone riding in a car ahead of it.

The CATF study also shows that Texas ranks 5th in the nation for deaths attributable to diesel pollution. People living in urban areas are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of diesel pollution. 

In fact, people living in Beaumont, Texas, were found to suffer the greatest health risks from diesel pollution for any metro area in the U.S., 865 times the level that EPA considers to be acceptable! Houston and Dallas ranked 6th and 14th respectively for deaths from diesel pollution.  And this data only looks at the health impacts from particulate pollution from diesels, therefore it doesn’t consider the health impacts associated with diesel pollution’s role in ozone formation.

Thankfully, there are a host of measures that can be used to reduce the health impacts caused by diesel pollution – we just need to make sure that they are put to use!

  • School and transit buses should be equipped with closed crackcase filtration systems to reduce diesel exposure to children and other passengers in the bus cabin
  • Use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel
  • Retrofitting existing diesels with diesel particulate filters
  • Specifying emission levels for public works contracts
  • Setting and enforcing anti-idling ordinances
  • Truck stop electrification programs
To Read "Diesel Health in America: The Lingering Threat" click here.
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