EPA announces $40 million in funding to reduce diesel emissions

By Mary Elizabeth Williams-Villano

The grant funding is prioritized for areas facing air quality challenges.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the availability of grant funding to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines, according to a press release.

The EPA anticipates awarding approximately $40 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program grant funding to eligible applicants, subject to the availability of funds. Applicants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas can apply for up to $2.5 million in funds.

“By financially supporting projects that upgrade aging diesel engines, EPA is helping improve their efficiency and reduce air pollution throughout the nation,” said Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “From our grant programs to our new Cleaner Trucks Initiative, the EPA is taking important steps to help modernize heavy-duty trucks and provide cleaner, more efficient methods of transportation that will protect the environment and keep our economy growing.”

“In EPA Region 6, DERA funding has helped schools, municipalities and even airports contribute to improving air quality,” said Regional Administrator Anne Idsal. “We encourage a wide variety of applicants to take advantage of this opportunity to upgrade their fleets and be part of cleaner, healthier communities.”

Diesel-powered engines move approximately 90 percent of the nation’s freight tonnage, and today nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines, along with cars, pickup trucks, commercial mowers and other equipment.

The EPA is soliciting applications nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating in areas designated as having poor air quality. Priority for funding will also be given to projects that engage and benefit local communities and applicants that demonstrate their ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.

The agency anticipates releasing a separate Tribal Clean Diesel funding opportunity in late 2019.

In October, during Children’s Health Month, the EPA announced the availability of approximately $9 million in rebates to public school bus fleet owners to help replace or upgrade older engines. This is the sixth rebate program to fund cleaner school buses under DERA, that have supported nearly 25,000 cleaner buses across the country for America’s school children.

Since the first year of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has competitively awarded over 530 grants and 390 rebates across the country. Many of these projects funded cleaner diesel engines that operate in economically disadvantaged communities whose residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart and lung disease.

Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality. Applicants may apply until Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Under this competition, the EPA anticipates awarding between 40 and 80 assistance agreements. Applicants must request funding from the EPA regional office which covers the geographic project location. The maximum amount of federal funding that may be requested per application varies by region.

For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

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