$4M grant program to clean older diesel engines at ports - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

EPA $4M grant program seeks to improve air quality in port communities

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WASHINGTON (WTOC) -

The EPA has made available $4 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from marine and inland water ports, many of which are in areas that face environmental justice challenges.

Most of the country's busiest ports are located near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in nearby communities can be exposed to high levels of diesel emissions. Older diesel engines can emit large amounts of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). These pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems. Clean diesel projects at ports, employing readily available technology, will make immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits.

This cleantech funding is available under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program and is the first competition to focus on solely reducing emissions at ports. DERA funds are used to clean up the legacy fleet of diesel engines that were produced before more recent environmental standards.

Under this competition, the EPA anticipates awarding between two and five assistance agreements to port authorities through the DERA program. Port authorities, governmental or public agencies that operate ports, are able to work directly with a variety of fleet owners to lower emissions from different types of equipment used in a port setting.

Projects may include drayage trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and cargo handling equipment at marine or inland ports. Priority will be given to ports located in areas of poor air quality.

The objectives of the assistance offered under this program are to achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution reduced and reductions in diesel emissions exposure from fleets operating at ports. The program also seeks to build partnerships among port stakeholders to promote ongoing efforts to reduce emissions from port operations. Community groups, local governments, terminal operators, shipping carriers, and other business entities are encouraged to participate through partnerships with eligible port authorities.

 The closing date for receipt of proposals is Feb. 13, 2014.

Last month the EPA made available $2 million in funding for rebates to help public and private construction equipment owners replace or retrofit older diesel construction engines, also through the DERA program.

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