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Tougher Emissions Rules for 18-Wheelers

Tens of thousands of Granite Staters could soon be breathing easier because of new emissions standards just set for the trucking industry. (P.A. LeClercq)
Tens of thousands of Granite Staters could soon be breathing easier because of new emissions standards just set for the trucking industry. (P.A. LeClercq)
August 22, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. — Big rigs on the interstate in New Hampshire and around the country could soon be spewing less harmful emissions. The Obama administration released new carbon-emission standards that will require a reduction of up to 25 percent for trucks and buses over the next 10 years.

According to Mike Seilback, a vice president for advocacy with the American Lung Association of the Northeast, the change should mean better health for many in New Hampshire.

"For the tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents that struggle with things like asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” Seilback said, "this announcement's going to directly impact their lives by giving them cleaner air to breathe."

In addition to health benefits in the region, Seilback said the economy in New England could also see a bump; although the trucking industry has expressed concerns about the costs associated with the change.

Paul Billings, also with the American Lung Association, said semi-trucks are often on the road for at least 10 years, and cover a million miles during that time. He predicted the new emission standards could 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,” Billings said. "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 estimated the new rules would 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 two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the new rules.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH