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Online grocery delivery service FreshDirect must pay a $50,000 fine for the pollutants its idling trucks spew on New York streets, the state Attorney General’s office announced today.
It could have been worse. The state is knocking $70,000 off of the $120,000 fine it originally assessed, so long as the company complies with an agreement to reduce its idling emissions.
The agreement between the company and the state comes after an investigation prompted by citizen complaints. The investigation documented some 30 instances of illegal idling by the company’s trucks throughout the city, which is hardly a surprise: Along with its excess food packaging, the company has long pissed-off environmentalists with its practice of letting its truck engines run during deliveries.
Two years ago, Voice food critic and avid cyclist Robert Sietsema wrote, “Fresh Direct trucks soon appropriated bicycle lanes as their personal parking lots. The hulking trucks hogged residential streets normally devoid of commercial traffic. And Fresh Direct trucks idled as they parked, spewing diesel fumes that bathed entire blocks in carcinogenic stink.”
The pollution released by idling vehicles is linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, and other serious health problems, especially among children, the attorney general’s office tells us. Oh, and idling vehicles also produce a ton of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.
As part of the “Anti-Idling Program” FreshDirect will begin implementing in the next eight months, electronic controls installed on all of its vehicles will automatically shut off idling engines after three minutes. FreshDirect is also required to begin an education, training and monitoring program within the next 60 days.