News | October 16, 2006

"Clean Diesel Hospital Zones" Launched In Metro Portland

Portland, OR – At Portland's South Waterfront, Oregon's four main hospital systems announced an effort to voluntarily clean up emissions from heavy duty vehicles and equipment operating near hospitals in the Portland area. Made possible through a $250,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant, the "Clean Diesel Hospital Zones" project will rely on cleaner fuels and new pollution control technologies to protect local air quality. In addition, the City of Portland will announce that city garbage haulers are now required to use cleaner renewable biodiesel fuel in their vehicles.

Agencies and Hospitals Announce "Clean Diesel Hospital Zones" in Metro Portland

To kick off the "Clean Diesel Hospital Zone" program, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Legacy Health System, Providence Health System and Kaiser Hospitals are signing a commitment today to take steps to reduce diesel emissions from their own operations. They will next direct their suppliers, vendors, service providers and contractors working on new construction projects to reduce diesel emissions.

Scheduled to attend the signing ceremony will be Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Stephanie Hallock; Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman; Brad King, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, OHSU; Dan Stevens, Providence Health System; Pam Vukovich, Chief Financial Officer, Legacy Health System; Allison Garr, Kaiser Permanente NW; and U.S. EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Michelle Pirzadeh.

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) welcomes the local institutions commitment to protect air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I applaud these hospitals for demonstrating bold leadership in reducing diesel exhaust, one of Oregon's most serious air pollutants," said DEQ Director Stephanie Hallock. "By investing in clean diesel technologies to protect the health of our most sensitive populations, the hospitals are setting an example for the rest of the nation."

City of Portland Requires Residential Garbage Haulers to Use Cleaner Biodiesel Fuel

Today Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Commissioner-in-Charge of the City's Office of Sustainable Development, will announce that the City will require all residential garbage and recycling haulers in the City of Portland to use B20 (20 per cent biodiesel blend fuel) beginning in March 2007. The change will create a 17 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from garbage trucks and a 12 per cent reduction in particulate matter, and is equivalent to taking 240 cars off the road. Portland is the first city in Oregon to adopt the B20 standard for haulers.

The City has been using a B20 blend of biodiesel in all City diesel vehicles since July 2004, and as of September 2006, the Water Bureau fleet uses only B99 in diesel vehicles. Portland is also the nation's first city to create a renewable fuels standard requiring that all diesel sold in t

he city limits contain a minimum 5 per cent biodiesel. "Fortunately, we can make some fairly easy changes that not only keep the air cleaner for children and reduce greenhouse gases, but also create economic opportunity for Oregon farmers," said Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

Portland has been a leader on the issue of climate change since 1993, when it became the first city in the United States to develop a Climate Change Action Plan. Local greenhouse gas emissions have dropped almost to 1993 levels, while increasing 13 per cent nationally in the same timeframe. Growing demand for cleaner-burning fuels produced from plants also creates economic opportunity for Oregon farmers.

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Now Available Nationwide

And as of yesterday, October 15th, the EPA is now requiring refiners and fuel importers to cut the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel 97 percent, from 500 parts per million to 15. According to EPA officials, this is the first step in a series of federal actions that will ultimately prevent an estimated 20,000 deaths a year, while ensuring that America's diesel engines remain the most powerful, durable, efficient - and the cleanest - in the world.

"The diesel rules will provide even more public health benefits than when we removed the lead from gasoline 25 years ago," said EPA's Pirzadeh. "By drastically cutting the emissions that cause soot and smog, EPA is delivering cleaner running engines, cleaner air and healthier families."

EPA's funding is being made through the West Coast Collaborative, a public-private partnership working to reduce diesel emissions along the West Coast. The West Coast Collaborative is the first project of EPA's national Clean Diesel Program.

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency