EPA makes $50M available to clean up diesel engines

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today, April 2, announced the availability of almost $50 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of diesel engines.

The grants, authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and funded for the first time this fiscal year, will be administered by EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign and its network of seven collaboratives, made up of EPA regional offices and public and private sector partners.

“Under President Bush’s leadership, America’s air is cleaner today than it was a generation ago,” says EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “By encouraging innovations in existing diesel engines, EPA is driving the nation toward a clean, healthy, productive tomorrow.”

Over the past decade, EPA has set stringent new particulate and nitrogen oxide standards for most types of new diesel engines. These regulations will annually prevent more than 20,000 premature deaths and yield more than $150 billion in public health benefits when fully implemented, the agency says.

The funding announced today, however, is aimed at reducing emissions from the existing fleet of 11 million diesel engines that pre-date these standards. According to EPA, addressing the existing fleet is important because diesels can remain in use for decades.

State, local, regional and tribal governments can apply for the grants, as well as nonprofits and institutions with transportation, educational services and air quality responsibilities.

The grants are targeting school or transit buses, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, marine engines, locomotives and nonroad engines. Grant recipients can use a variety of cost-effective emissions reduction strategies, such as EPA-verified retrofit and idle-reduction technologies, EPA-certified engine upgrades, vehicle or equipment replacements, cleaner fuels and creation of clean diesel financing programs.

Some EPA Regional offices already have started issuing requests for grant applications, called Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and, along with EPA Headquarters, will continue to roll them out throughout the spring.

EPA says more than 400,000 existing diesel engines already have been retrofitted during NCDC’s first few years, cutting harmful emissions by nearly 300,000 tons.