Grant funding prioritized for areas facing air quality challenges
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of grant funding to implement projects that reduce emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $46 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding to eligible applicants, subject to the availability of funds. Under this competition, EPA anticipates awarding between 40 and 70 assistance agreements.
“The DERA program continues to provide much-needed assistance to agencies and ports to improve poor air quality in communities across America,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “Over the last three years, EPA has provided nearly $300 million in grants and rebates to modernize diesel fleets with cleaner heavy-duty trucks and equipment.”
Diesel-powered engines move most of the nation’s freight tonnage, and today nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines. EPA is soliciting applications nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating at goods movements facilities in areas designated as having poor air quality.
Applicants may request funding to upgrade or replace diesel-powered buses, trucks, marine engines, locomotives and nonroad equipment with newer, cleaner technologies. 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.
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 promote air quality and clean transportation. Applicants may apply until March 16.
Applicants must request funding from the EPA regional office that covers the geographic project location. The maximum amount of federal funding that may be requested per application varies. Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands) will accept applications requesting up to $2,500,000 in grant funds.
Since the first year of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has competitively awarded over 850 grants and 450 rebates across the country. Many of these projects funded cleaner engines that operate in economically disadvantaged communities whose residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart and lung disease.