Sen. Carper Introduces Bill to Clean Air and Curb Diesel Emissions from Transportation Construction Sites

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced a bill that would significantly reduce diesel emissions at transportation construction sites in Delaware and across the country, in an effort to improve the air quality in communities that struggle with chronic air pollution. The Clean Construction Act of 2011 would provide existing federal transportation funding to retrofit, repower and upgrade construction equipment to provide the maximum achievable reduction of diesel soot emissions. 

Construction equipment produces 25 percent of all mobile diesel emissions. Diesel soot from these emissions kills an estimated 21,000 Americans every year. Exposure to diesel soot is a cause of premature death, heart disease, cancer, asthma, emphysema, and infant mortality. Nationwide, there are over two million pieces of construction equipment and most lack modern diesel soot controls.  

Most at risk are commuters, people living or working in proximity to truck traffic, construction workers, agricultural and other heavy equipment operators. For example, heavy equipment operators exposed to diesel exhaust have a 47 percent increased risk of death due to heart attacks and counties with higher levels of particulate matter have increased prevalence of diabetes.  

“Federal transportation projects are essential to our nation’s economic recovery and ability to ‘win the future,'” said Sen. Carper. “Unfortunately, the bulldozers, diggers, and backhoes that build our nation’s infrastructure produce harmful diesel emissions. At risk are children who live near construction sites, commuters stuck in traffic, and workers who operate construction machinery. My bill’s common-sense approach is simple: in areas of poor air quality, federal transportation projects should reduce, not increase, harmful diesel emissions.”

“On behalf of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), we thank Senator Carper for his strong leadership, commitment and vision in ensuring that the air we breathe and the projects we build are simultaneously strong and healthy for the communities in which they are built,” said Conrad Schneider, Advocacy Director of the Clean Air Task Force. “This legislation provides a targeted approach to reducing emissions from construction machines that will be used in the areas of the country that are struggling to meet federal air quality standards. We are thrilled to be standing side-by-side with the contractors in support of the Clean Construction Act of 2011,” concluded Schneider.  

“Utilizing cleaner diesel engines in transportation projects is a winning proposition,” continued Schneider. 

The Clean Construction Act of 2011 incorporates the use of cleaner construction equipment – such as front-end loaders, diggers, and earth movers – on federally-funded transportation projects in particulate matter non-attainment areas. To maintain strict cost controls, the bill requires that states and public transportation agencies allocate no more than 1 percent of a transportation project cost to upgrade dirty construction equipment and restricts the use of these funds solely to particulate matter nonattainment areas.  

The Clean Construction Act of 2011 is endorsed by the Clean Air Task Force and the Associated General Contractors of America.