Statement: Dumping Dirty Diesel Pollution — NJDEP Proposes Cargo Handling Equipment Rule To Slash Toxic Pollution

Media Contacts
Hayley Berliner

Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Trenton – Today, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) officially proposed the Mobile Cargo Handling Equipment rule when it adopted the regulation in the New Jersey Register. The Cargo Handling Equipment rule is one of many regulations stemming from the Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJPACT) initiative, just like the recently adopted Advanced Clean Truck rule, in which the Murphy Administration is working to both adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. 

The Cargo Handling Equipment rule, which is modeled after similar regulations in California, if adopted, would require diesel cargo vehicles at both ports and rail yards to meet specific performance standards to reduce diesel emissions, especially nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM2.5). The Cargo Handling Equipment rule is estimated to reduce NOx emissions by 500 tons and PM2.5 by 38 tons from 2024-2035. Any mobile off-road vehicle, including yard tractors, forklifts, container handlers, and more, would have to meet the most stringent emissions control standards, either through replacement engines or upgraded technology, including zero-emission technology. These vehicles must have engines certified to meet California on-road emission standards for 2010 or later, or meet the EPA Tier 4 final off-road engine emission standards. Any new cargo handling equipment must come with a certified on-road engine for the model year in which it was purchased, leased, or rented.

In addition to the Cargo Handling Equipment rule, the NJDEP proposed a revision to the state’s air quality standards for ozone, as New Jersey is in nonattainment for federal ozone standards and must reduce statewide NOx emissions to meet federal standards. NJDEP will hold a virtual public hearing on February 9 at 9:30 a.m. and public comments will be due on March 4 for both the Cargo Handling Equipment rule and the State Implementation Plan regarding federal ozone standards.

NJDEP is expected to continue its efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change through NJPACT with additional rule proposals this year, including the Heavy-Duty Omnibus Rule and Medium-Duty Inspections.

Hayley Berliner, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment New Jersey issued the following statement:

“Diesel trucks are arguably our biggest public health threat right now besides COVID-19, as they cause serious respiratory conditions such as asthma, can exacerbate heart and lung disease, and can even cause premature death. Reducing the most toxic emissions from these vehicles and moving towards electrification is the single most effective way to prioritize public health and our environment. The Cargo Handling Equipment rule will do just that, slashing the most dangerous emissions from diesel trucks at our ports and rail yards, which will reduce air and climate pollution and make all New Jerseyans healthier.

“NJDEP is indicating a strong interest in moving New Jersey towards a cleaner, electric vehicle future with the adoption of the Advanced Clean Truck rule just before the New Year and the proposal of the Cargo Handling Equipment rule today. We urge NJDEP to move forward with rapid adoption of this rule and to continue proposing emissions reductions and electrification regulations to continue along this path. We thank the NJDEP and Governor Murphy for moving forward to electrify trucks across New Jersey and we will need to continue moving forward with electrification in 2022.”