Archive for the ‘Nitrogen Oxide’ Category

War on Diesel

Diesel has gotten more than its share of coverage in environmental news recently. Fans of diesel might have liked last week’s post about a CA district court’s decision holding that RCRA does not apply to diesel exhaust, because the exhaust is neither a solid nor hazardous waste. But things aren’t looking as good for diesel this week:

  • On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the EPA “lacked good cause for not providing formal notice-and-comment rulemaking” in a suit filed against the EPA for promulgating an interim final rule on nitrogen oxide emissions. Specifically, the interim final rule basically permitted some manufacturers of heavy-duty diesel engines to pay penalties rather than, well, comply with the actual final rule, which required a 95 percent reduction in the emissions of nitrogen oxide from heavy-duty diesel engines. Before I read the decision, I’d expected the petitioners to be angry environmentalists, but I guess it’s not surprising that they were actually manufacturers of diesel engines who had spent hundreds of millions of dollars already to bring their engines into compliance. The court vacated the interim final rule. For more details, read this post on the Jenner & Block Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog.
  • And it was a well-timed decision: on the same day, WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer officially classified diesel engine exhaust as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on “sufficient” evidence that exposure to the exhaust is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. This is a more dire outcome than diesel exhaust’s last evaluation – in 1988 it was classified only as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Read the full story on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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