Day of Action Targets Diesel Trucks and Buses

Elected Officials, Doctors, and Unions Lend Voices to Anti-Idling Campaign

Contact:
Ian Hart, Pacific Institute • 510-251-1600
AJ Napolis, Communities for a Better Environment • 510-209-7398
John Showalter, ILWU Locals 10 and 34 • 415-775-0533
Wafaa Aborashed, Davis West Neighborhood Group • 510-410-9232
Karen Pierce, Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates • 415-601-8666

San Francisco Bay Area (October 18, 2005) – The Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative launched its “Don’t Sit Idle” campaign Tuesday morning with awareness events in six local communities. Starting at 3 a.m., residents of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, and San Leandro distributed anti-idling fliers to truck and bus drivers as well as local residents. While a law limiting diesel truck idling to five minutes has been in place for a year, it is sporadically enforced and a loophole allows truckers to idle their vehicles overnight. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will hold a hearing Thursday to consider closing that loophole.

“It has fallen on our communities to get the word out about the health, environmental, and legal ramifications of diesel idling,” said Karen Pierce of the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates at Tuesday morning’s press conference. “Limiting truck idling to five minutes isn’t courtesy, it’s the law.”

Diesel exhaust was declared a toxic air contaminant in 1998 by CARB. It is harmful to respiratory health, particularly in children and the elderly. Numerous studies connect air pollution to asthma, premature death, lung cancer, and other respiratory conditions. Remarkably, the Bay Area is second only to Los Angeles in health incidences due to diesel pollution. Some communities, like Bayview Hunters Point and West Oakland, have asthma hospitalization rates as much as ten times higher than neighboring communities. The Collaborative, however, sees truckers not as the problem but as part of the solution.

“Truckers are part of this community – we live and work here – we owe it to our communities, and ourselves, to stop idling.” said Bill Aboudi, Operations Manager for AB Trucking. “Idling wastes fuel and money. And it is bad for our lungs as well as our wallets.”

Elected officials joined community and labor leaders at Tuesday’s press conference to call on CARB to close loopholes that allow pollution to persist. State Assemblywoman Loni Hancock spoke on behalf of West Contra Costa County, some of whose residents face diesel emissions 40 times the state average. Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel, who represents the heavily polluted West Oakland, also spoke out on Tuesday. A long-time advocate of diesel control, she has worked to mitigate the truck traffic emanating from the expanding Port of Oakland. Trent Willis, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, expressed the support of his constituents for the law, and the Collaborative.

“In June 2004, a group of environmental health and justice organizations started developing a regional strategy to reduce diesel pollution. The Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative is now more than twenty organizations and one hundred individuals strong, and represents neighborhoods from across the region.” said Meena Palaniappan, Program Director at Oakland’s Pacific Institute. “Today’s neighborhood actions are just the beginning of our ‘Don’t Sit Idle’ campaign.”

###

Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative
noidling <at> pacinst.org

Alameda County Environmental Health Services • American Lung Association • Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates • California Breathing Communities for a Better Environment • Communities Health Initiative • Contra Costa Asthma Coalition • Contra Costa Health Services •
Davis West Neighborhood Group • Ethnic Health Institute • Health and Environmental Task Force • ILWU Locals 10 and 34
Natural Resources Defense Council • Neighborhood House of North Richmond • Pacific Institute • Partnership for the Public’s Health
Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Initiative • Sonoma County Asthma Coalition• Union of Concerned Scientists • Urban Habitat
US Environmental Protection Agency • West County Toxics Coalition • West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project