WASHINGTON -- The White House Wednesday rejected a plea from House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and other lawmakers to postpone a tough new anti-pollution standard for long-haul diesel trucks that will provide stiff penalties for companies that don't meet the deadline for compliance.
Hastert and dozens of other House members had turned to the White House for help after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman told them a week ago that the administration would implement the rule to sharply reduce health-threatening nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines.
Senior officials of the Office of Management and Budget and the EPA confirmed the decision, with one saying, "We looked at the science and heard from as many stakes-holders as possible ... and believe that moving forward is the right thing to do."
Officials of the American Lung Association and key environmental groups recently wrote to President Bush urging him to hold the diesel engine manufacturers "accountable for over a decade of corporate irresponsibility that continues to impact public health." The White House cited the letter Wednesday as a factor in its decision.
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