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Clearer Skies, Ahem.

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Thanks to U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper for giving the green light to the AQMD's new fleet rules. The rules require state and local agencies to purchase the "cleanest commercially available" vehicles when adding to their fleets. (Not unlike government purchasing policies requiring use of recycled paper and such.)The Engine Manufacturers Association and Western States Petroleum Association sued over the rules, charging that the new fleet rules amounted to a regulation on emissions from new vehicles and engines--essentially regulating how and what can be manufactured. Ostensibly because it would prevent state and local agencies from purchasing vehicles running on diesel. Air-bourne contaminants from diesel exhaust is estimated to make up 70% of the local cancer risk (LA Weekly).

While the plaintiffs complain the rules are a slap in the face to their efforts to develop ultra-clean diesel engines, the AQMD maintains that ultra-clean diesel can and may be considered the "cleanest commercially available" alternative... when it actually is.

To the plaintiffs in this case, we say, "Build it cleaner, and they will come."

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The AQMD should be giving itself a pat on the back for this victory. NOT purchasing more vehicles spouting asthma triggering NOx (nitrous oxide) seems like a public health plus, and a good thing to do with public vehicle purchasing dollars. Logic prevails.

In other clean air news, LAist missed the meeting where LA said, "Whatever, guys" to Washington, and signed the Kyoto Protocol without them. In an effort spearheaded by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, 131 mayors (representing 29 million Americans) have signed up to carryout the Kyoto Protocol on global warming--a 7% reduction in the emission of greehouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs) in the next seven years.

All those in favor? Oh wait, we did that already.