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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces air-quality regulation proposal

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces on Monday,

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, announces a plan to place limits on emissions from diesel generators and natural gas-fired engines. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday that the state has proposed a new regulation meant to improve air quality and protect public health by placing limits on emissions from diesel generators and natural gas-fired engines.

The new regulation would align the state with federal air quality standards, Cuomo’s office said. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments on the proposed rule through Feb. 18, 2016.

“These new standards will reduce pollution, further encourage the development of renewable resources and support this state’s efforts to combat climate change,” the governor said in a statement.

The proposal targets nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions and would help the state meet new, stricter ozone standards by 2018, as required under the federal Clean Air Act.

Nitrogen oxide — formed when nitrogen atoms break apart and join with oxygen — is a pollutant that contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, the major component of smog, the governor’s office said. Both ozone and particulate matter can cause respiratory problems such as asthma, shortness of breath and coughing.

The new rule reduces other toxic pollutants caused by diesel fuel combustion, the governor’s office said, and it will encourage the use of non-emitting renewable distributed energy sources.

The new regulation “is a major step for clean air and public health,” said Jackson Morris, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement. “We commend Governor Cuomo . . . for recognizing the need to close what is currently a major loophole in the state’s policies, and reduce our reliance on dirty diesel generators.”

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