By Triangle Business Journal

A new rule that took effect this week requires heavy-duty truck operators to reduce unnecessary idling of their trucks to help improve air quality in North Carolina.

The state Environmental Management Commission adopted the rule in July 2009, but its effective date was delayed until the end of the 2010 session of the General Assembly, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The EMC adopted the rule as part of the stateâ¿¿s efforts to reduce air pollution in order to meet more stringent federal air quality standards. The rule applies to on-road gasoline and diesel-powered motor vehicles with a loaded weight greater than 10,000 pounds.

Under the rule, operators should not idle their vehicles for more than five consecutive minutes in any 60-minute period except for instances dealing with safety, health and economic concerns, DENR said in its statement. For example, trucks and buses can idle if necessary to perform essential functions such as refrigerating, hoisting, loading and responding to emergencies. The rule also exempts farm and military trucks.

The state Division of Air Quality estimates the rule will reduce nitrogen oxide, the primary cause of ozone in North Carolina, by up to 1,300 tons per year. In comparison, two coal-fired power plant units in the Asheville area emitted 485 tons of NOx in 2007, DENR said.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010