The emission limits apply to existing diesel engines, which are required to meet certain criteria for age, size, and use.

EPA estimates that more than 900,000 of the engines generate electricity and power equipment at industrial, agricultural and other facilities. The engines are also used in emergencies to produce electricity and pump water for flood and fire control.

Owners and operators of the largest of the engines will have to install emissions controls, such as catalysts to engine exhaust systems to meet the emissions requirements. Emergency engines covered by this rule, need to comply with operating requirements that will limit emissions.

However, emergency engines used at most residences, hospitals and other institutional facilities, and commercial facilities such as shopping centers are not covered by this rule.

EPA expects that the rule will reduce annual air toxics emissions by 1,000 tons, particle pollution by 2,800 tons, carbon monoxide emissions by 14,000 tons, and organic compound emissions by 27,000 tons when fully implemented in 2013.

Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator of office of air and radiation at EPA, said: ”Improving air quality is one the agency’s top priorities. Controlling emissions from these engines will save lives and protect our communities from serious health problems, including heart attacks, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”

EPA will issue final emissions standards for similar existing stationary engines that burn gasoline, natural gas and landfill gas, known as spark ignition engines, by August 10, 2010.