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Release Date: 08/22/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA-New England Press Office, (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - As part of an effort to protect New Englanders from the harmful effects of illegal diesel fuel in trucks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it is seeking penalties from four New England companies for violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

EPA cited Conrail, Inc., Todesca Equipment Co., Inc., Arlex Oil Corp. and Lyons Fuel, Inc. for using high sulfur diesel fuel in its motor vehicles. Federal law limits the sulfur content of fuels used in on-road vehicles to control air pollution. The violations were discovered during inspections and fuel sampling conducted by EPA late last year.

"Companies that think they can cut corners on truck fuel and get away with it are headed down the wrong road," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for EPA's New England office. "Emissions from diesel engines running on the wrong fuel pose a health hazard; we intend to put a stop to it and this will help."

The Clean Air Act prohibits use of motor vehicle diesel fuel which contains sulfur in concentrations exceeding 0.05 percent. Use of high-sulfur diesel fuel in motor vehicles increases emissions of small particulate matter that is easily inhaled and can cause bronchitis, asthma, and respiratory infections. Small particulates also have been identified as probable human carcinogens.

Conrail, which is headquartered in Philadelphia but operates railroads throughout New England, was fined $3000. Todesca Equipment, a road and bridge contractor located in Boston, was fined $6000 for four separate violations. Home heating oil distributors Arlex Oil of Lexington, Mass. and Lyons Fuel of Arlington, Mass., were fined $1,500 and $4,500 respectively