|By G. Michael Dobbs|
WALTHAM On July 3, the American Lung Association of the Northeast recognized the efforts of Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse's efforts to support a resolution to support Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicles Standards at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting.
Bissonnette explained to Reminder Publications the new standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would remove sulfur from gasoline by the end of this year. Bissonnette is Conference of Mayors Environment Committee vice-chair.
He said that supporting the measure was not controversial among the nation's mayors and the only opposition he saw was from large oil companies, as the new standards would create an additional expense for them. The mayors were told the nation's automakers approved of the effort.
The cost for the consumer, he added, is estimated as one cent per gallon, but the effect of removing the sulfur would have the impact on air quality of 33 million cars being taken off the road.
"There should be cost savings in health care," Bissonnette said. "Hopefully it will drive down the cost of health care with fewer lung related diseases."
According to the EPA, the new standards could prevent up to 2,500 death each year by the year 2030. If implemented, the new standards would not only reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline, would also reduce nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, which can cause ozone and particulate pollution.
"Motor vehicles are a major source of some of the most widespread air pollution across the United States, causing premature death, worsening asthma and other lung diseases and increasing the risk of cardiovascular harm," Jeff Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association the Northeast, said. "We need to end this needless suffering and put these lifesaving measures into effect."
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