NEW YORK --- New York Gov. David A. Paterson on Nov. 25 announced plans to step up the state's long-term enforcement plan to reduce the adverse health impacts associated with idling diesel trucks and buses. He made the announcement in the Bronx -- home of the highest asthma rate in the state.

Under the enforcement plan, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will carry out regular but unannounced enforcement actions in urban areas of heavy truck traffic. At these hot spots, DEC deploys "pull over" operations that target trucks emitting visible exhaust in violation of state air regulations.

Each time a "smoking" truck enforcement action is taken, DEC also conducts random enforcement against illegal idling (with the help of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection when operations take place in New York City).

The state strategy focuses on communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution, including neighborhoods in New York City, Albany and other urban centers across the state.

"Every New Yorker deserves a clean, safe and healthy community in which to live," said Paterson. "But today, noxious exhaust from smoking and idling trucks and buses continues to pollute the air and undermine the health of too many New Yorkers."

The initiative is based on a successful pilot program to crack down on truck pollution last year in East Harlem, a neighborhood with elevated asthma rates and heavy truck traffic.

Penalties for violation of state air emission standards are $700 for the first offense and $1,300 for subsequent offenses. Operators that repair non-compliant vehicles can have the fines reduced.

Pete Grannis, state commissioner of environmental conservation, said: "We made a pledge to the people of New York to go into every borough with this initiative and we are demonstrating that commitment today. We cannot sit by and allow our vulnerable populations -- especially in those communities disproportionately burdened by pollution -- to be exposed to the toxic emissions from trucks and buses that operate in violation of state law."