Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (December 8, 20000 - Taking aggressive steps to provide cleaner air for Maryland residents, Governor Parris N. Glendening today announced the State is moving forward with an initiative, similar to those currently proposed in California, to adopt stricter requirements for diesel trucks. The new provisions will require manufacturers of diesel trucks sold in Maryland to produce cleaner burning engines beginning with the 2005 model year. Thirteen other states have also committed to adopting the proposed California standards.

Currently, the six firms that manufacture 90-percent of the diesel trucks sold nationally are operating under a 1998 consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requiring them to build lower-polluting diesel trucks through 2004. The EPA has adopted stricter requirements which, by law, can't go into effect until the 2007 model year.

"This action is necessary to close a loophole in federal law that would allow diesel truck manufacturers to build higher polluting engines in 2005 and 2006 than in previous years," said Governor Glendening. "Maryland cannot afford to give up the gains we have made in reducing the amount of pollution from diesel trucks over the past several years. Our citizens deserve no less."

Diesel trucks are a significant source of air pollution and contribute significantly to the emissions of nitrogen oxides into our air. Nitrogen oxide is a major factor in the creation of ground level ozone. Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Jane Nishida cautions that "Ground level ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion. It may also worsen bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma. We must take these steps to protect the health of Maryland residents."

The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), comprised of states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions including Maryland is considering a Memorandum of Understanding calling for a commitment to adopt the stricter regulations for diesel trucks among its member states. The OTC, created by Congress as a part of the Clean Air Act, coordinates ground level ozone control planning.

This new initiative is consistent with Maryland's plan to reduce pollution from diesel vehicles. In 1999, Governor Glendening signed legislation designed to control diesel vehicle smoke emissions. This program, jointly operated by the Maryland Departments of the Environment and Transportation and the State Police, started testing diesel vehicles in August 2000.