State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA)/Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO)
Study pushed the EPA to limit emissions by off-road diesel engines.
On June 29 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule regarding control of exhaust emissions from diesel engines, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxide, that power off-road equipment such as earthmovers, bulldozers and agricultural equipment. The new regulations stem originally from a STAPPA/ALAPCO report entitled "Regulating Air Pollution from Diesel Trucks." It stated that reducing allowable emissions from diesel-powered construction equipment could prevent 8,522 premature deaths in the U.S. every year and save $67 billion in related costs and lost income. Starting with model year 2008, off-road machines will be required to use advanced exhaust emission-control devices that are anticipated to lessen particulate output by 95 percent and that of nitrogen oxides by 90 percent. Meanwhile the sulfur content in fuel for diesel-powered construction equipment will be cut from 3,000 parts per million to 15 parts per million--a 99 percent reduction. The rules will be phased in beginning in 2007 and completed by 2010.
R. Michael Alvarez and Ted Selker
Alvarez, professor of political science, California Institute of Technology; and Selker, associate professor of media arts and sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Recommended sweeping changes to overhaul U.S. voting systems.
Soon after Florida's bungled vote for the 2000 U.S. presidential election, the heads of Caltech and M.I.T. chose Michael Alvarez and Ted Selker to co-direct a new initiative, the Caltech-M.I.T. Voting Technology Project. The team of computing and political science experts was to examine ways to reform U.S. voting systems. Eight months later they released their first report, which documented a wide variety of problems and proposed policy and technical solutions. Since then, the group has explained how best to implement changes, which in part has prompted 42 states to update voting machines. Technology is only a partial remedy, however, so in July, Alvarez and Selker recommended four major steps the Election Assistance Commission should take to minimize lost votes in the November 2004 elections. These include better voter registration processes, fixing certain ballot problems, requiring the reporting of more balloting statistics, and developing better voter complaint procedures. Alvarez and Selker estimate that four million to six million votes were lost nationally in the 2000 presidential election.
Andrew Jay Schwartzman
President and CEO, Media Access Project, Washington, D.C.
Defended antimonopoly regulations against the onslaught of big media.
As media giants extend their empires, local news and a diversity of viewpoints can be lost or extinguished, depriving the public of important information and dialogue. Current regulations limit the market share controlled by a single corporation in broadcast and print media, but in 2003 the Federal Communications Commission proposed scaling back restrictions it deemed to be outdated. The Media Access Project, a nonprofit, public-interest telecommunications law firm led by Andrew Jay Schwartzman, fought to keep the new proposals from taking effect and secured a ruling from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in June invalidating many of the FCC's reasons for the changes. The court's decision upheld most of the current policies, agreeing with Schwartzman's arguments that increasing permissible market share would keep small, local organizations from entering the industry.
M. S. Swaminathan
Chair, M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India
Promoted community-based solutions to famine in India.
India produces more than enough food to feed its entire population, but poor infrastructure and local corruption keep that food from reaching the tables of roughly one fifth of its billion citizens. Through his research foundation, M. S. Swaminathan has helped alleviate Indian hunger. He has worked from the bottom up by providing farmers with access to current information on market prices, weather forecasts, farming techniques, medical treatments and alternative income options. In 2003 the foundation launched the National Virtual Academy for Food Security and Rural Prosperity, a Web site through which villagers can query scientists and obtain information in their local language. The Web site's multimedia format allows for access by the illiterate, and efforts to encourage female community members to act as local liaisons have helped increase the status of women who live in rural areas.