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Big Rigs Face Tougher Emissions Rules

New rules mean the big rigs that share the roads in Maine will soon be spewing fewer harmful emissions. (Macias/U.S. Air Force).
New rules mean the big rigs that share the roads in Maine will soon be spewing fewer harmful emissions. (Macias/U.S. Air Force).
August 22, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – That big rig sharing the Interstate with you could soon be spewing less harmful emissions because of new rules.

The Obama administration has released new carbon emission standards that will require up to a 25 percent reduction for trucks and buses over the next 10 years.

Michael Seilback, a vice president for advocacy with the American Lung Association of the Northeast, says more than 150,000 Maine residents who suffer from asthma will benefit from the new rules, and that's just the start.

"Almost 300,000 residents fighting things like COPD, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” he states. “Cleaning up the air is going to directly impact the health of these residents. "

Seilback says the new rules will not only produce health benefits in the region, but also for the New England economy.

The trucking industry has expressed concerns about the costs associated with the change.

Paul Billings, also a vice president with the American Lung Association, says semi-trucks are often on the road for at least 10 years, and cover a million miles during that time.

He predicts the new emission standards will have a long-term impact on the country's air quality.

"The thing about trucks is, they last a long time, and so it takes a long time for new technology to come in and replace the older trucks as they retire. But this is a forward-looking rule, so we'll continue to see benefits as these cleaner, more efficient vehicles replace the older, less efficient vehicles."

The Obama administration estimates the new rules will cut more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions by 2027, and save the trucking industry $170 billion in fuel costs, reducing petroleum use by 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the new rules.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME