The following is the text of a news release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced the availability of grant funding to modernize the nation’s diesel fleet by retrofitting or replacing vehicles with cleaner, more efficient diesel engines. EPA anticipates awarding at least $11 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funding to eligible applicants, subject to the availability of funds.
Diesel-powered engines move approximately 90 percent of the nation’s freight tonnage, and nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives, and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines. DERA is considered one of the most cost-effective federal programs, averaging more than $13 in health and economic benefits for every $1 in funding.
EPA is soliciting proposals nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure. The agency encourages applications from fleets in areas designated as having poor air quality. Priority will be given to projects that engage local communities and applicants that demonstrate their ability to continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.
"DERA is a bipartisan program to help fleet companies improve regional air quality, proving that good environmental policy can go hand in hand with good business," said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.
Eligible applicants include regional, state, local and tribal agencies, and 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 if their principal purpose is promoting transportation or air quality. The application deadline is June 20.
EPA anticipates awarding between 20 and 80 assistance agreements under this competition. Applicants must request funding from their EPA regional office. The maximum grant funding for individual applications varies by region. EPA anticipates releasing a separate Request for Proposals for tribal applicants during 2017.
Since the first year of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded nearly 690 grants across the U.S. Many of these projects fund cleaner diesel engines that operate in economically disadvantaged communities, whose residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart and lung disease.
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