EPA: Will Sharply Cut Sulfur Exhaust Emissions
The EPA will announce plans to "reduce sharply" the level of sulfur allowed in diesel fuel, claiming diesel emissions are "an important health hazard," the New York Times reports. The State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators will release a report maintaining that soot from diesel fuel engines increases cancer risk so that "after a lifetime of exposure there would be 125,000 extra cases around the country." The new EPA rules, which will "probably be announced in a few months," have "opened a vigorous debate between the oil industry and state officials, not about whether to cut sulfur levels, but how much." State officials want a 97% reduction, but refiners say that the technology to produce such clean fuel does "not exist, and that even if it did, the cost would drive some refineries out of business and that would create shortages for all oil products." The significance of the problem isn't clear yet because the data used for the report was compiled in the Los Angeles area, which has 50% more soot than most urban and suburban areas nationwide. But Daniel Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, said, "If you look across all the public agencies that have reviewed the scientific data you see some consistency in them saying the diesel is either a probable human carcinogen or likely to be a human carcinogen" (Wald, 3/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.