Allegheny County Council Enacts Long-Delayed Off-road Idling Regulation

April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010

Press Statement

Contact: Rachel Filippini, GASP, 412-325-7382 
               Kathy Lawson, Clean Water Action, 412-765-3053 ext. 240




A major step forward in reducing diesel pollution from idling by off- road vehicles, such as construction equipment, was taken by Allegheny Council at last night’s meeting. The newly-adopted regulation, which has been in limbo since its recommendation by the Board of Health in 2007, is strongly supported by the Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution

GASP, Clean Water Action, and other interested stakeholders worked with the County Air Quality Program’s Regulation subcommittee to create the off-road idling regulation to reduce diesel pollution from idling construction vehicles and other off-road vehicles.  The Board of Health approved the regulation in the fall of 2007, but County Council and the Chief Executive had not acted on it until now.

“We’re pleased to see that the off-road idling regulation is finally a reality, said Rachel Filippini, executive director of Group Against Smog and Pollution.  Reducing off-road idling is a triple win: protecting human health, safeguarding the environment, and saving money. ”

The regulation says no vehicles or engines subject to this regulation may idle for more than five consecutive minutes, with exemptions for times when idling may be necessary, such as to bring equipment up to proper operating temperature.  The entire regulation can be viewed here:

Vehicles that are subject to the regulation are used in construction, mining, rental, landscaping, recycling, landfilling, manufacturing, warehousing, composting, airport ground support equipment, industrial, and other operations, and must have a horsepower of 25 or greater.  This regulation does not apply to stationary or portable equipment, or equipment or vehicles used in agricultural operations, or equipment at ports or intermodal rail yards.  

Kathy Lawson, policy associate with Clean Water Action stated, “Operators of construction vehicles will benefit the most from these regulations, which will cut down on the amount of toxic diesel emissions being emitted and thus inhaled while on the job.”

In Allegheny County diesel exhaust poses a serious risk to the community’s health and exacerbates global warming.  According to a 2005 report by the Clean Air Task Force, Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat, diesel shortens the lives of 237 Pittsburghers each year, and triggers hundreds of heart attacks and thousands of asthma attacks.  Our children and the elderly are most at risk from the harmful effects of diesel exhaust. 

The diesel campaign is a collaborative effort committed to reducing the health risks posed by diesel pollution.  This comprehensive campaign aims to reduce toxic diesel pollution from a full array of diesel vehicles, including school buses, transit buses, garbage trucks, construction equipment, and locomotives operating in Allegheny County.   More information about our campaign can be found at