The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to decrease the amount of allowable nitrogen oxide pollution emissions that come from the engines of diesel and heavy–duty truck engines.

However, they haven’t indicated what the new allowable level will be.

Doug O’Malley, the director of Environment New Jersey, is expressing cautious optimism about the plan.

“The EPA has not updated these rules in more than 17 years. Our diesel trucks are still one of the largest sources of air pollution, especially in our cities. This is the pollutant that comes out of our cars, and certainly our trucks, that leads to smog,” he said.

“Obviously there’s a lot of trucks from out of state on the Turnpike, so we need to ensure that we have a strong as possible standard.”

O’Malley pointed out that up until now the Trump administration weakened environmental protections, not strengthened them.

“We want to see the 'beef' of this regulation; we want to make sure it’s for real, and we definitely want to make sure that states, whether they be New Jersey or California, can go above and beyond this federal standard," he said.

He said states like New Jersey should be allowed to tighten diesel pollution emission because it is a major cause of air pollution  that causes asthma and lung disease.

“Right now in New Jersey, especially in the summer months, we have way too many days that are unhealthy to breath the air because of ozone," he said.

Last summer, Environment New Jersey released a report showing New Jersey has more than 90 days a year when elevated pollution levels make breathing unhealthy.

The EPA isn’t expected to announce what kind of new emission standard it is proposing until the beginning of 2020.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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