Release 96-23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT: Daven Oswalt/
September 19, 1996                                                                                 Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch                                                                                                                 (916) 322-2990

Air Resources Board Announces National Heavy Equipment Accord

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced that it has agreed to a Statement of Principles (SOP) with the USEPA and a dozen major manufacturers of diesel-powered farm and construction engines and equipment to adopt national emission standards for smog-forming nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons.

        Air Resources Board Chairman John Dunlap said, "For the second time in two years California has been instrumental in bringing industry together with the federal government to forge an agreement that not only benefits our state but the rest of the nation, as well. This nationwide program will benefit manufacturers and purchasers of farm and construction equipment by keeping California's lower-polluting industries on a level playing field."

        To allow for the most cost-effective implementation, the standards vary in the amount of emission reduction according to engine sizes. Some of the new standards for equipment such as tractors, bulldozers and cranes, and marine engines with less than 50hp, could be adopted as early as 1999. The new standards will be adopted in two phases for many engine types, with each phasedown resulting in smog-forming emissions being reduced by about one-third. Upon full implementation, the new standards are expected to cut smog-forming emissions by up to 66 percent from many engines, compared to today's emission levels. In addition, the new emission limits will help control particulate matter, and are expected to result in equipment powered by these engines being nearly smoke-free.

        "Roughly 40 percent of all motor vehicle emission reductions in our state clean air plan must come from national standards that are set by the federal government. This cooperative agreement between private industry and state and federal governments is a significant step toward achieving those reductions and a new blueprint for cooperation between industry and government for air quality improvement," he said.

        The 1994 California State Implementation Plan (SIP), the state's guide for achieving clean standards, calls for a series of measures that include national emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, marine vessels and aircraft to be adopted by the federal government. California air quality officials have stated that clean air standards cannot be achieved in Southern California or maintained in other parts of the state unless those measures are implemented.

        The ARB has been the nation's leader in developing tailpipe emission standards for cars, trucks and buses and the fuels that power them since its inception in 1969. Nearly all present emission standards for those vehicles, as well as for passenger cars, off-road recreational vehicles and small utility engines used in lawn and garden equipment, were introduced in California.

        In addition, California introduced a unique blend of diesel fuel in 1993 that reduces the nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions from all diesel-powered engines by up to 17 percent. That fuel may help diesel engine manufacturers meet the upcoming tighter emission standards.

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