National Car Rental Fined $475,000 for Diesel Idling Violations

Pending court approval, several companies affiliated with National Car Rental will pay a fine of $475,000 for repeated violations of motor vehicle idling regulations at two New England airports: Logan International in Boston and Bradley International near Hartford, Conn.

In 2006 and 2007, EPA investigators said the shuttle buses that carry passengers from the airport terminal to the rental car locations were idling excessively. At the time, Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. operated the National Car Rental facilities at Logan and Bradley Airports. The current owners and operators of these facilities are Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. of Boston and CAMRAC LLC. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut have clean air regulations which limit motor vehicle idling (to five minutes in Massachusetts and three minutes in Connecticut) with exceptions allowed for vehicles undergoing maintenance, making deliveries or in extreme cold conditions.

“Here in New England, we suffer from disproportionately high asthma rates,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Diesel pollution is very harmful, especially for sensitive populations such as the young, elderly and people who suffer from asthma. It is critical for the health of the surrounding community that companies like National Car Rental comply with anti-idling laws.”

The consent decree, lodged in federal court and requiring approval by the court, requires the companies to proceed with anti-idling measures, such as driver training, daily management walk-throughs to monitor idling, maintaining electronic idling controls, and posting of no-idling signs.

In New England, diesel engines are the third largest human-made source of fine particles, contributing more than 20 percent of fine particle emissions. Fine particles can cause lung damage and aggravate respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Based upon human and laboratory studies, there is also considerable evidence that diesel exhaust is a likely carcinogen, according to EPA.

The consent decree will be subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Once it is published in the Federal Register, a copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department website at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

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