REP. CLARKE AND SENATOR MARKEY INTRODUCE BICAMERAL LEGISLATION TO REDUCE HARMFUL EMISSIONS FROM REFRIGERATED TRUCKS IN OVERBURDENED COMMUNITIES
Washington, D.C. – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Representative Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today announced legislation to reduce harmful emissions from refrigerated heavy-duty trucks. The FREEZER (Fostering and Realizing Electrification by Encouraging Zero Emission Refrigeration) Trucks Act would combat the climate crisis and reduce local air pollution by creating a grant program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to electrify diesel-powered transport refrigeration units (TRUs) on commercial trucks and vans. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles contribute more than 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, and emit higher levels of particulate matter and smog-forming pollutants than passenger vehicles.
“Refrigerated trucks are ubiquitous in cities like Brooklyn, where they can be seen and heard at all hours of the day and night making deliveries,” said Representative Clarke. “While these trucks are a vital component of regional and local economies, they are also major sources of climate-warming emissions and local air pollution in the communities they serve. That is why my legislation with Senator Markey will help replace dirty refrigeration units with clean technology that is better for the environment and our neighborhoods, particularly in communities most impacted by local air pollution.”
“Diesel emissions are a deadly contributor to air pollution in our most overburdened communities. We cannot continue to allow diesel refrigerated trucks to idle 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when there are clean alternatives available,” said Senator Markey. “Now is the time to combat environmental injustice and reduce emissions everywhere, beginning with the dirtiest polluters in the highest-risk communities as we continue to fight the colliding crises of climate change, air pollution, and the ongoing respiratory pandemic.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Refrigerated trucks are essential to transporting food and other temperature-sensitive products, but their diesel refrigeration units continue to burn fuel even when parked to stay cool. Electric TRUs that can be plugged in when stationary emit fewer greenhouse gases and fully eliminate the on-site air pollutants that disproportionately affect already overburdened communities and contribute to lung and cardiovascular conditions. The FREEZER Trucks Act would authorize $30 million in funding that would be used to convert diesel units to electric and install the charging infrastructure needed to support electrification. Importantly, the grant program would focus on projects that can maximize public health benefits by serving communities that currently experience the highest levels of diesel pollution across the nation.
The bill has received support from the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Urban Green Council, and Earthjustice.
Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security.