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For Release: Thursday, April 21, 2022

DEC Commissioner Seggos Announces Statewide Diesel Truck Emission Enforcement Blitz During Earth Week

Supports New York State's Efforts to Reduce Harmful Air Emissions, Particularly in Environmental Justice Communities Disproportionately Overburdened by Pollution

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today visited Albany's South End neighborhood to announce a week-long truck enforcement detail happening in disadvantaged communities across the State as part of New York's commemoration of Earth Week. Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) from DEC's Division of Law Enforcement, in coordination with DEC's Division of Air Resources staff, are conducting the details to protect public health and the environment by inspecting diesel vehicles to ensure compliance with the State's stringent air regulations. This enforcement blitz will take place in approximately 30 locations to advance efforts to reduce harmful air emissions, especially in disadvantaged communities most impacted by transportation pollution.

"New York State continues to lead the nation in taking bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants that harm our environment, economy, and affect Environmental Justice communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution," Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "This latest diesel truck detail, happening as we commemorate Earth Week, will take dirty trucks off our roads and provides us with a great example of why we need to accelerate our transition from fossil fuels to prevent the damage they cause to our climate and the health of our communities."

The detail will help identify non-compliant heavy-duty vehicles and reduce emissions of fine particulate matter in disadvantaged communities where there is often significant heavy-duty vehicle traffic. DEC's Earth Week enforcement details are happening in and around Environmental Justice communities in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Schoharie, Delaware, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Clinton, Washington, Warren, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Oneida, Cortland, Oswego, Broome, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Allegany, Chautauqua, Niagara, and Erie counties.

In addition to conducting emissions inspections on diesel vehicles, ECOs will also engage in targeted enforcement of regulations restricting idling time for diesel vehicles. Reduced idling time cuts down on air pollution and noise, improves fuel economy, and saves diesel operators and consumers money. Officers will also monitor compliance of pesticide applications, solid waste transportation, and open burning as part of the Earth Week detail.

New York prioritizes climate justice in several ways, including in the implementation of the ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act which requires the State to invest or direct resources to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive at least 35 percent, with the goal of 40 percent, of overall benefits of spending on clean energy and energy efficiency programs. Draft criteria developed by the Climate Justice Working Group will guide the equitable implementation of the Climate Act. The draft criteria include an interactive map and list of communities the criteria would cover for directing programs and projects to reduce air pollution and climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions, provide economic development opportunities, and target clean energy and energy efficiency investments. New Yorkers can comment on the draft disadvantaged communities criteria until July 7, 2022, by going to the Climate Act website (leaves DEC website). In addition, the Draft Scoping Plan, which describes recommended policies and actions to help New York meet its climate directives as part of the Climate Act, is available for public comment until June 10, 2022, at the Climate Act website (leaves DEC website).

Assemblyman John T. McDonald III, RPh said, "Thank you to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for undertaking this enforcement effort and for looking toward longer term solutions by working toward the transition to zero-emission vehicles which will have a profound impact on air quality and sustainability. I appreciate the focus on enforcement in environmental justice communities such as the South End of Albany and will continue to work with the community members that I represent and our state partners to create a healthier and more equitable environment for all."

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "Historically, minority communities have shouldered the burden of higher levels of air pollution compared to wealthier neighborhoods. This environmental injustice is what drove me to protect the South End from bomb trains carrying highly combustible crude oil and stop the expansion of oil refinement at the Port of Albany years ago. During Earth Week, we're reminded that we can always do more to improve air quality and the quality of life for our residents, and I commend the State Department of Environmental Conservation and Governor Hochul for cracking down on unnecessary and dangerous diesel emissions in neighborhoods."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "For too long our historically disadvantaged communities have had to deal with heavy emission vehicles regularly driving through their backyards. I applaud Governor Hochul and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos for continuing to shed light on the harm that diesel emissions have on our air quality and enforcing air regulation compliance among trucks. As we celebrate Earth Week, this is a great reminder of the importance of protecting our environment."

The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is a critical component of improving the air quality in disadvantaged communities and will achieve the goals in the Climate Act. Earlier this year, Governor Kathy Hochul's State of the State address included several initiatives to support New York's transition to electric vehicles, including: the commitment to convert the State agency fleet to all zero-emission vehicles by 2035; require the purchase of zero-emission school buses by 2027; and invest $1 billion in electric transportation, mostly directed to charging infrastructure.

In addition, Governor Hochul signed legislation this past September requiring the sale of 100 percent zero-emission cars by 2035, and 100 percent zero-emission trucks and buses by 2045. DEC is also enacting regulatory requirements that are driving a transition to EVs as more and more electric vehicles are now available across the market, from passenger cars to SUVs and pickup trucks. This includes New York's adoption of California rules requiring vehicle manufacturers to sell an increasing amount of zero-emission cars and light trucks, and issuing the Advanced Clean Truck Rule, which requires manufacturers of trucks and buses to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission trucks and buses.

Existing programs to help fund the transition to zero-emission vehicles include the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYTVIP), administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which helps make it easier for fleets to adopt zero-emission vehicle technologies while removing the oldest, dirtiest diesel engines from New York roads. NYTVIP provides vouchers, or discounts, to fleets across New York State that purchase or lease medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. The New York State Clean Diesel Grant Program (NYSCDGP) is another initiative designed to improve air quality by reducing harmful diesel exhaust emissions that usually come from older trucks, marine vessels, and other diesel-powered equipment. NYSCDGP has received funding through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act since 2008 to provide opportunities and incentives to public and private entities with eligible projects. DEC also administers the Municipal ZEV Rebate (PDF) through the Climate Smart Communities Program to provide rebates to cities, towns, villages, counties, and New York City to purchase or lease eligible new zero-emission vehicles for fleet use.

For more information visit Heavy Duty Vehicles webpage.

ECO truck surrounded by large tractor trailers
ECOs Conducting Truck Emission Detail Across from Seneca Falls Landfill

ECO kneels next to large tractor trailer while taking an emissions reading
Truck Emission Detail Blitz Near Seneca Falls Landfill

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