Cracking down truck and bus emissions may not cut air pollution as effectively as restricting the kinds of new cars that can be sold in New York would, a spokesman for Governor George Pataki said.
A deal was reached between Pataki and the Legislature under which the state will delay, for at least two years, a plan to require truck operators to begin buying “clean-fueled” vehicles starting with the 1998 model year.
New York will use the so-called California low-emission vehicle standard, which will prevent the sale of more pollution-prone new vehicles in the state.
Critics, however, said the agreement was a setback in cutting air pollution in the state. They blame the advanced incidence of asthma among children in some urban areas of the state in part on emissions from city transit and school buses.
“From our view, this stinks,” said Peter Iwanowicz of the Environmental Advocates lobbying group. “Essentially what this does is it tells the general public to hold your breath for two years and we’ll get around to it then.”
The operators of fleets with 10 or more vehicles were to have been required to make sure that at least half of newly purchased heavy duty vehicles starting in 1998 are powered by propane and other fuels that release less pollution when they burn than petroleum-based fuels.
But the trucking industry, bus lines, some municipalities and other companies opposed the requirement. About 1,000 companies or other entities would have been subject to the clean-fueled requirement.
The Pataki administration will continue to study whether to impose emissions testing on the heavy duty vehicles, according to McKeon. Those tests are now required of passenger vehicles in the New York City metropolitan area, but trucks and buses are exempted, according to one Pataki spokesman.
—Associated Press