NEW YORK CITY– Nassau and Suffolk counties are part of a comprehensive agreement organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce diesel emissions, according to the Web site Others that have joined in the agreement are the New York State counties of Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester; New York City; the New York State Department of Transportation; and the Federal Highway Administration. Representatives recently gathered in New York City to sign a detailed description of the measures they will take.

Measures include retrofitting, retiring, and replacing polluting engines; creating cleaner fleets of municipal vehicles; adopting cleaner fuels; designing and enforcing measures to reduce engine idling; and investing in pollution reduction technologies. The EPA has identified diesel emissions as a contributing factor in ailments such as respiratory problems and asthma. The agency provides monetary and technical assistance to help local and state entities implement programs designed to slash diesel pollution.

Nassau County currently owns 330 buses and 20 sedans that run on ultra-clean compressed natural gas and will purchase an additional 20 CNG sedans by early next year, according to In addition, Nassau County will purchase 150,000 gallons of ultra low sulfur bio-diesel next year to provide fuel for 100 percent of its non-emergency diesel vehicles.

The New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have pledged to work with the counties and to beef up their own efforts at environmental protection.