JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IDLING OF MOTOR VEHICLES.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Sen. Edward Meyer, 12th Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
To reduce the exposure of Connecticut residents to the negative health impacts of engine exhaust caused by excessive vehicle idling.
Substitute language from amendment C changed the bill as follows: added in line 16 "or inspection" after "maintenance".
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Gina McCarthy, Commissioner Department of Environmental Protection
The Department supports anti-idling enforcement legislation because it is a cost effective method of reducing significant amounts of pollution from motor vehicles operating in Connecticut. Enhanced anti-idling enforcement is a first step in a more comprehensive anti-idling strategy that we proposed in our Connecticut Clean Diesel Plan Studies have shown that a typical long-haul tractor-trailer idles approximately 1830 hours annually. This process consumes approximately 8 million gallons of diesel fuel in Connecticut each year! Idling vehicles create emissions that contribute to the formation of smog and ground level ozone, and produce carbon dioxide; diesel exhaust also contains a number of toxic air pollutants. The EPA estimates that diesel engines are the third largest source of fine particles, which can cause lung damage and aggravate respiratory conditions including asthma and bronchitis. DEP refers the committee to its “Act Concerning Enforcement of the Environmental Protection Statutes” for the Department's preferred language. DEP strongly believes that anti-idling enforcement provides a cost-effective and efficient way to improve air quality and immediately reduce the exposure of Connecticut residents to the potential health impacts of engine exhaust.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Ray P. Williams, Senior Vice President, LogistiCare
We serve as a Broker for the Medicaid Non Emergency Medical Transportation Program administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. We have more than 30 transportation providers under contract representing close to 700 vehicles. We are sensitive to the issue of air quality, we respectfully urge the committee to consider language in the bill that would extend an exemption to the 3 minute threshold to include “vehicles that are in the process of on-loading or off-loading passengers”. Many of the passengers we transport are medically fragile or disabled. It takes them a long time to enter or exit the vehicles. If there is not an exemption, we may run the risk of having to rush or hurry the patients. If this exemption is too broad, we ask the Committee to consider language germane to “vehicles that are transporting for emergent or non-emergent medical care”. We urge your support of this amendment.
Anthony K. Rish III, Professor of Alternative Fuels and Automotive Technology, Gateway Community College
I have been personally affected by air pollution, and am concerned about global climate change. An enforceable anti-idling law would keep vehicles from filling the air with toxic pollution while wasting fossil fuels. This ant-idling law also needs to be applied to the horrifying, wasteful practice of continuously running fleet diesels overnight during cold weather to keep them warm. A modern, properly maintained diesel has very little trouble starting in cold climates. I plead with you to work at these ultra-important initiatives so that our young children will not have to deal with a lifetime of reduced lung function, disease, and altered environment.
Nancy Alderman, President of Environment and Human Health, Inc.
This bill seeks to copy the already existing CT Department of Environmental Protections' DEP “NO IDLING” regulation 22a-174-18 into the motor vehicle laws. DEP thought this issue was important enough to create a regulation, but it is very hard to enforce a DEP regulation. To be effective, this regulation needs to be copied into the motor vehicle regulations so that it can be enforced by the police, just like the legislature did in 2002 for the “no idling” school bus DEP regulation. The bill is well thought out and well written. It has all the necessary idling exemptions, including when the temperature is below 20 degrees and for overnight truckers. The public is unaware of their idling habits. The public is also unaware of the harmful effects of both diesel and care exhaust – both of which have serious health effects. Diesel exhaust exacerbates asthma, which in this state affects almost 10 percent of our children. The quickest and cheapest way to get immediate vehicle exhaust reductions is to ban the unnecessary idling of cars and trucks.
Brooke Samuelson, Chester, CT
Connecticut's residents are under assault from unhealthy emissions. We are particularly vulnerable to non-stop pollution on Routes 91/95/84. Please take a critical step forward on air quality, and put some serious “teeth” and police power into SB 988. Connecticut residents are entitled to relief from his onslaught of filthy air, and we need your commitment to reducing the health hazard from diesel emissions.
Alison Murdock, New Hartford, CT
I strongly support the passage of this legislation to allow local enforcement of anti-idling regulations. Excessive idling generates particulate pollution and is a waste of increasingly expensive fuel and resources. If offenders knew they faced a fine for this infraction they would be much less apt to disregard it. In the pursuit of better public health and less waste of public and private resources, please support this bill.
Charles Rothenberger, Staff Attorney, CT Fund for the Environment
Excessive idling negatively impacts human health and our environment. Vehicles pollute whenever the engine is running. Motor vehicles emit a number of harmful chemicals into the air, including carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, acedaldehyde, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to global warming. These emissions are also responsible for significant adverse health impacts, including increased episodes of asthma and rates of cancer. Children are particularly susceptible to air pollution because they typically breathe 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults.
League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Naomi Schiff Myers, Air Quality Specialist
We support the Bill as a measure to reduce vehicular pollution by providing an enforcement mechanism for the current non-idling law. Diesel pollution has serious effects on the health of Connecticut residents – particularly the elderly and children living in densely populated areas. Latest results of the Women's Health Initiative (New England Journal of Medicine) found that fine particulates significantly increase the risk of heart attack in women. In addition diesel pollution is a global warming pollutant.
CT Farm Bureau Association, Bonnie Burr, Director of Government Relations
We wish to bring to your attention the need to continue to exempt auxiliary farm equipment that we use in agriculture in this bill. We have a variety of pieces of equipment which may idle in the course of its use such as harvesting equipment and blowers we hook to tractors to get silage and other feed stuffs into silos.
Martin Mador, Legislative and political chair, Sierra Club
I'm here testifying on behalf of our 11,000 Connecticut members. I am here to endorse the bill. Extended motor vehicle idling creates unnecessary pollution and really serves no purpose. Without this bill, which makes it a local infraction so the police can enforce this, the bill is meaningless, as there is no feasible enforcement.
Dr. Mary Jane Williams, Connecticut Nurses Association
As health care professionals, we know first hand the problems created by poor air quality, especially as it affects the health of the most vulnerable. Connecticut's air quality is the poorest in New England. Idling wastes fuel, adds to the productions of greenhouse gases, and contributes to the global climate changes. Our children are especially vulnerable to the damages caused by air pollution. A cost benefit analysis would demonstrate that the cost of implementation is much less than the cost of health care for these vulnerable populations over their lifetime.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
William D. Moore. Executive Director, Connecticut School Transportation Association
COSTA is a trade association comprised of owners and operators of school buses, student transportation vehicles and other associate members. We transport more than 490,000 children to and from school safely every day. I am appearing before you to oppose Proposed Bill 998. We are respectfully asking that school buses be exempt from 998. The bill does not take into consideration that in order for school bus safety equipment to properly work, the engine must be running. That safety equipment includes the red “Stop on Signal” lights and the red stop semaphore that warns vehicles to stop when the bus is picking up and/or discharging passengers. The safety equipment also includes the crossing gates that protect children when they are crossing in front of the school bus.
Reported by: Geoff Luxenberg, Committee Clerk
Date: March 30, 2007