For Release: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
DEC'S Earth Week Crackdown Targets Dirty Diesels from Buffalo to Long Island
To mark the end of Earth Day celebrations last week, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released the results of the agency's statewide clean air initiative, a week-long crack down on smoke-spewing diesel trucks in check-point operations across New York. DEC's environmental conservation officers (ECOs) inspected hundreds of trucks and issued 206 tickets.
From Buffalo to Long Island, ECOs targeted trucks churning out plumes of visible exhaust - in violation of state air regulations. Dubbed DEC's "Stop Smoking Initiative for Trucks and Buses," the enforcement operation was carried out in strategically chosen neighborhoods known for heavy truck traffic.
"Clean air is essential to all New Yorkers," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Earth Day reminds us that we need to keep our communities safe and clean for future generations. Through our Office of Environmental Justice, DEC is especially committed to addressing disproportionate and adverse environmental impacts in environmental justice areas. This is an ongoing initiative of DEC that reaffirms our commitment to improve air quality.
"Commercial trucking is a vital component to our economy but we must ensure that trucks comply with clean air laws to protect our neighborhoods," Commissioner Martens continued. "DEC remains dedicated to protecting the health of all residents."
Penalties for violations of state air emission standards are $700 for the first offense and $1,300 for subsequent offenses. Operators that repair faulty vehicles can have the fines reduced.
The "Stop Smoking Initiative for Trucks and Buses" was based on a successful program launched in New York City. DEC is committed to expanding the program to neighborhoods across the state.
DEC will continue working with community groups and local governments to develop an outreach program to educate the trucking industry and neighborhood groups about the laws and serious consequences of trucks that pollute the environment. A key feature of the program involves empowering communities to identify hot spots where idling diesel engines contribute to poor air quality in their neighborhoods.