American Shipper

EPA offers $20 million to combat diesel emissions

   States, local governments and non-profit organizations can apply for up to $20 million worth of grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help programs aimed at replacing older diesel engines with cleaner alternatives.
   The EPA on Friday opened the fiscal year 2012 application process for the Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA). Another $9 million in funding will be available through state environmental programs, it said.
   Late-model diesel engines that meet EPA standards are more than 90 percent cleaner than older versions. 2010 trucks, for example, emit 98 percent less particulate matter than engines built in the 1980s, many of which are still in service in port districts and other applications.
   Almost 11 million older diesels still operate throughout the nation’s transportation system, according to the EPA. It estimates that it generates $13 in public health savings for every $1 spent on clean diesel technology. 
   DERA grants can be used to reduce air pollution from school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives and other diesel engines.
   The EPA has awarded more than 500 grants worth a combined $520 million since Congress began funding DERA in 2008. Last year, 50 organizations split $50 million in clean diesel assistance. The Port of Houston Authority, for example, received $943,413 to subsidize 11 ocean-going vessels switching from highly polluting bunker fuel to low-sulfur fuel in the port region.
   The closing date for submitting grant proposals is June 4.
   To read more about how the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Program, of which DERA is a part, is helping ports transition to newer truck fleets, see “Driving away dirty drayage” in the March issue of American Shipper. — Eric Kulisch