Brown Urges EPA To Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Industrial Equipment

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Contact: (415) 703-5837,

LOS ANGELES—California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from construction, mining, agricultural, industrial equipment—machines which annually emit as much carbon dioxide as approximately 40 million cars.

“Millions of industrial machines in mines, on farms, and construction sites spew massive quantities of unregulated greenhouse gas pollution,” Attorney General Brown said. “The Environmental Protection Agency has not regulated the emissions from these vehicles and engines—just like it has failed to curb greenhouse gases from cars, ocean-going vessels, and aircraft.”

Among the wide range of nonroad vehicles and engine that the EPA is authorized to regulate are the following: construction and farm machinery, logging equipment, outdoor power equipment, recreational vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, marine vessels, aircraft, and locomotives. Attorney General Brown recently filed separate petitions to the EPA calling for aircraft and ocean-going vessel regulations. Locomotives are excluded from today’s petition because regulating train emissions involves different technological and legal issues.

The engines and vehicles cited in today’s petition emitted 220 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2007—an amount equivalent to the emissions from 40 million cars. Mining and construction equipment accounted for 32% of these emissions, followed by agricultural and industrial equipment. According to the California Air Resources Board, there are approximately 17.8 million of these machines and engines in California.

According to EPA data, the emissions from snowmobiles, golf carts, riding lawn mowers, agricultural equipment and off-road vehicles are growing at a faster rate, 49% between 1990 and 2005, than greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles or aircraft. These vehicles emit more greenhouse gases than all domestic aircraft.

In today’s petition, California asserts that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority and the duty to adopt national greenhouse gas emissions standards for the entire sector of nonroad engines and vehicles. California is petitioning the EPA to:

• Make a determination that greenhouse gas emissions from nonroad sources contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health and welfare
• Adopt greenhouse gas emissions standards, under Section 213 of the Clean Air Act, for new nonroad vehicles and engines
• Adopt the regulations that are necessary to carry out these emissions limits.

Other states, government agencies, and national environmental organizations that are joining California in petitioning the EPA today include: Connecticut, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the International Center for Technology Assessment, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth.

There is a wide range of technologies and operational procedures that can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

• Auxiliary power units reduce the need for idling engines to heat or cool vehicle cabs
• Electrification and hybrid technology can increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• Reflective paint on trucks and truck cabs can reduce the use of air conditioning
• Low-carbon fuels, low viscosity lubricants, and onboard oil purification systems can improve engine efficiency
• Alternative air conditioning equipment and refrigerants can curb greenhouse gases
• Lighter body materials improve the efficiency of off-road vehicles and power boats

In 2006, California adopted the groundbreaking Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020—approximately a 25% reduction. To date, the EPA has failed to issue any regulations covering greenhouse gas emissions. The agency has also blocked California’s attempt to set automobile greenhouse gas emissions standards.

Visit the Attorney General’s Website for up-to-date information about how public officials, industry leaders, and private citizens can join the fight against global warming:

California’s petition to the EPA is attached. A factsheet on CO2 Emissions from nonroad vehicles and engines is also attached.

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PDF icon Factsheet22.52 KB
PDF icon Press release for printing34.14 KB
PDF icon Petition to EPA118.05 KB