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For Release: Thursday, July 5, 2012

DEC and PBA Begin Inspection Effort Targeting Vehicle Emissions Violators on Peace Bridge

DEC Will Hold Series of Peace Bridge Plaza Sweeps

In an effort to improve air quality in the Peace Bridge area, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (PBA) today announced they will conduct a series of joint enforcement efforts aimed at heavy duty diesel vehicle traffic within the Peace Bridge U.S. plaza.

The enforcement detail will target smoking diesel truck traffic through compliance sweeps by DEC Environmental Conservation Officers. The sweeps will include periodic inspection checkpoints as well as new signs and violation fine warnings.

"DEC is taking action to address and minimize vehicle emissions violations in the plaza area," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "DEC takes compliance with emissions standards very seriously and these specialized details will go after trucks with excessive emissions and those out of compliance with environmental laws."

"The PBA is fully committed to this enforcement action and welcomes DEC's swift response to our request for increased idling inspections and updated plaza signage," said PBA Chairman Sam Hoyt. "We're pleased to be teaming-up with the DEC on this very important activity."

The first compliance sweep was conducted by DEC Environmental Conservation Officers on May 23, which resulted in 17 commercial vehicle inspections and four tickets and one warning were issued. The violations included exceeding opacity standards, an idling diesel engine and equipment failure.

DEC will hold similar enforcement details for the Peace Bridge plaza in the coming months. Updated idling compliance signs were installed in the Peace Bridge U.S. plaza area in May.

"The initiation of idling enforcement sweeps at the Peace Bridge will ensure proper standards for emissions are adhered to by both trucks and cars near the Customs plaza," said NYS Senator Mark Grisanti. "As Chairman of the Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee, I support all action taken to protect the air we breathe."

"This is welcome news for our neighborhoods," said NYS Senator Tim Kennedy. "By ensuring compliance with environmental standards, our state will help reduce air pollution and improve quality of life for the children, families and senior citizens who live near this essential economic artery."

"I'm very pleased that the DEC has agreed to my request for increased idling enforcement at the Peace Bridge," said NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan. "Putting Conservation Officers in place to enforce idling regulations will go a long way toward improving the health of Buffalo's west side residents. It's good to see that the PBA and the DEC have stepped up to the plate to improve conditions at the Peace Bridge."

"This is a good first step towards improving air quality on the West Side, and creating a culture of compliance at the Peace Bridge plaza," said Buffalo Common Council Member David Rivera.

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