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Clearing the Air: US EPA Awards $7M to Clean Diesel Projects Nationwide
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October 16, 2012

Clearing the Air: US EPA Awards $7M to Clean Diesel Projects Nationwide

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $7 million in grants nationwide to support the implementation of clean diesel projects. This funding is part of the agency’s ongoing national campaign, with $30 million being awarded to reduce harmful diesel exhaust that can lead to asthma attacks and premature deaths.

The grants were awarded as follows: over $5 million to California, about $1.4 million to Maine, $800,000 to Connecticut, and $100,000 to the Pacific Territories.

Diesel engines are durable, fuel-efficient workhorses in the American economy. However, legacy diesel engines – manufactured prior to the implementation of cleaner standards – emit large amounts of air pollutants. These pollutants are linked to health problems, including asthma, lung and heart disease and even premature death.

Clean diesel projects funded through these grants nationwide will help to replace the more than 11 million older diesel engines that continue to emit higher levels of pollution.In this year’s competition, winners were selected based on a proposal’s potential for maximizing health and environmental benefits by targeting areas that have significant air quality issues. Reduced air pollution from diesel engines in these areas can have a direct and significant impact on community health. New this year is an increased funding availability per award that will enable EPA to target larger engines used in marine vessels and locomotives, which will result in significant emissions reduced per engine.

The grants will be used in each area as follows:

In California, five major metropolitan areas, some with the poorest air quality in the nation, have received grant funds specifically targeting projects to reduce diesel emissions – among them: (1) South Coast Air Quality Management District (comprising Orange (News - Alert) County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties); (2) City of Long Beach-Harbor Department;(3) Bay Area Air Quality Management District; (4)San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District; and (5) Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.

Image via Shutterstock

Connecticut Maritime Foundation will purchase and install two new diesel marine engines in a passenger ferry operating out of New London, CT that provides year-round service to Orient Point, NY, and Block Island, RI.

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection will purchase and install six new diesel marine engines in two tug boats operating in Portland Harbor and the Gulf of Maine – and will replace four diesel-powered school buses with compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered school buses operating within the Portland Public School system.

In the Pacific Territories, funding will be used for diesel emission reduction projects – among them: (1) Guam Environmental Protection Agency received $29,060 to reduce diesel emission from school buses through diesel oxidation catalyst retrofits; (2) American Samoa Power Authority has received $28,494 to offsetting the cost differential to purchase Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) to power island generators; and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Division of Environmental Quality has received $42,756 to work on retrofitting power generation plants to enable the use of cleaner ULSD.

DERA was enacted in 2005, and since it was first funded in fiscal year 2008, EPA has awarded over 500 grants nationwide. These projects have reduced hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and saved millions of gallons of fuel.

To learn more about the grants and the National Clean Diesel Campaign, click here.

Edited by Braden Becker

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