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Bexar County Prohibits Large Vehicle Idling

Eileen Pace
Texas Public Radio

Bexar County has signed an anti-pollution order that requires trucks and other heavy vehicles to stop idling their engines in the county.

The move is an answer to new Environmental Protection Agency rules that limit ozone pollution to less than 70 parts per billion.

County Commissioners Tuesday approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alamo Area Council of Governments and the City of San Antonio for a court order prohibiting heavy vehicles from leaving their engines on idle.

Bexar County Public Works Director Renee Green produced research showing that idling produces the maximum levels of emissions of all types. She says enforcement will be accomplished through education, much as the Ozone Action Days of the early 2000s.  

“These were days where we said, ‘Don’t fuel before six in the evening and don’t mow your lawn, combine your errands into one trip.’ And quite frankly, that was extremely successful. The public today actually does those things as second nature.”

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says the order is the county's best option to avoid being placed in non-attainment status by the E.P.A.

“A good part of our pollution comes through vehicles, these larger trucks that come through here. And then many of them park in truck stops or pull over to the side of the road and continue to run their motors.”

According to Green's research, about two-thirds of the states in the U.S. have anti-idling laws. She told commissioners that the City of San Antonio plans to follow up with an anti-idling ordinance next month.

Passenger vehicles will be exempt, as will buses that require air-conditioning or heating for the health and safety of their passengers.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.