Amidst the bad publicity coming from Volkswagen's engineered fraud on diesel emissions testing comes good news from California Air Resources Board: The cancer risk from airborne toxins, most of which come from burning diesel fuel, dropped 76 percent.
"An Air Resources Board study, published (Sept. 21) in the prestigious scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology, shows that the cancer risk from exposure to the state’s most significant air toxics declined 76 percent over a 23-year period in California, a direct result of regulations targeting unhealthful emissions from these air pollutants," writes Melanie Turner for the ARB.
Diesel particulate matter, which is emitted mainly from trucks and buses and is responsible for most of the airborne cancer risk in California, declined 68 percent, as a result of the State’s regulatory efforts to clean up diesel exhaust.
The decline in toxic emissions is particularly significant in light of the state's steady population growth since 1990 (30 million) to 2012 (38 million), an increase of 27 percent, as well as an 81 percent increase in diesel vehicle-miles-traveled.
While the press release doesnt' indicate the increase in the number of diesel-powered vehicles, it credits "(t)the implementation of ARB’s recent diesel engine retrofit and replacement requirements (for) accelerated fleet turnover to cleaner trucks, and significant additional reductions are projected statewide."
“There is no way these improvements in public health would have occurred without a strong, well designed program to reduce public exposure to toxic air pollution,” said Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols.
The state's more recent significant diesel regulations began with a landmark regulation, the Statewide Truck and Bus rule adopted in December 2008 (posted here) under much controversy. Implementation began in 2011, requiring "truck owners to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014," according to the 2008 press release.
While emissions from diesel-powered cars constitute a very small percentage of total diesel emissions, the ARB played a significant role in detecting the Volkswagen fraud, as the Silicon Valley Business Journal and ARB press release note.
Hat tip: Susan Frank, CA Diesel Truck & Bus Rule List.
Planetizen’s Top Planning Books of 2023
The world is changing, and planning with it.
Chicago Red Line Extension Could Transform the South Side
The city’s transit agency is undertaking its biggest expansion ever to finally bring rail to the South Side.
More Affordable Housing for People, Less for Cars
Most jurisdictions have off-street parking requirements that increase motorists’ convenience but reduce housing affordability. It’s time to reform these policies for the sake of efficiency and fairness.
Seattle Council Rejects Transportation Impact Fee
Councilmembers who opposed the proposal say the fee would have slowed housing development and raised housing costs.
FHWA Issues Emissions Tracking Rule
The agency will require states to monitor transportation emissions and create plans to address air pollution.
FTA Proposes Measures to Prevent Transit Operator Fatigue
Public transit is the only type of transportation not already subject to ‘hours of service’ and fatigue risk management regulations.
University of New Mexico - School of Architecture & Planning
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Chaddick Institute at DePaul University
Arizona State University, Ten Across
Park City Municipal Corporation
National Capital Planning Commission
City of Santa Fe, New Mexico
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.