Green Fatigue

Phoenix Getting $830,000 From Feds for Cleaner Diesel Engine Technology; Valley Air to Get Infinitesimally Cleaner

The city of Phoenix announced today it will receive $830,000 in federal stimulus funds to "reduce diesel emissions by retrofitting and replacing city-owned equipment."

Forgive us if we don't stand up and cheer.

This money, half of which the feds are borrowing the future, isn't going to make a wisp of difference to the Valley's air. Here, according to a Phoenix news release, is what our children's money will do for us today:

... replace an aging garbage truck with a hydraulic hybrid truck and retrofit 45 pieces of diesel equipment for city-owned vehicles, adding diesel particulate filters or diesel oxidation catalysts. The retrofitted vehicles will operate on ultra-low sulfur diesel, with 20 percent biodiesel...

Also from the release:

"This is more proof that our hard work in Washington is paying off," said Mayor Phil Gordon. "This project will reduce diesel emissions for Phoenix and the surrounding region and, best of all, it will create green-industry jobs."

These stimulus dollars support the city's aggressive renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals as well as its Green Phoenix Initiative.

One stinking hybrid truck and 45 "pieces of diesel equipment" are going to help the Valley's air? If that's "aggressive," we'd hate to know what a moderate effort looks like. For all we know, the difference in emissions from the retrofitted vehicles equals the carbon output of the jumbo jet rides to Washington D.C.

And what's this about creating jobs? The city's crack vehicle fleet department apparently can't do the work. And if not, who pays for the new "green-industry jobs" once the federal money spring dries up?

There must be a more efficient way to clean the air with this money. For instance, what about buying low-emission economy cars for poor people with highly polluting clunkers?

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.