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News Releases from Region 10

Diesel Engine Grants Help Communities Breathe Cleaner, Healthier Air in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington

Contact Information: 
Suzanne Skadowski (skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov)

(Seattle - March 23, 2016) Clean diesel grants aimed at cleaning up old diesel engines have greatly improved public health by cutting harmful pollution that causes premature deaths, asthma attacks, and missed school and workdays, according to a new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since its start in 2008, the Diesel Emission Reduction Act or DERA program has significantly improved air quality for communities across the country by retrofitting and replacing older diesel engines.

Diesel exhaust significantly contributes to the formation of dangerous soot and smog and is likely to increase the risk of cancer. Clean diesel funding has helped clean up approximately 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxides and 14,700 tons of fine particles, which are linked to respiratory ailments including asthma and premature death.

DERA-funded projects in the Pacific Northwest include:

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation - Rural Communities Diesel Engine Replacements
Alaska DEC received a DERA grant of $248,000 with matching funds of $114,119. In partnership with the Alaska Energy Authority, DEC will replace five diesel engines in the power plants of rural communities, replacing Tier 0 engines to Tier 2 Certified Engines. The project is expected to reduce 258 tons of nitrogen oxides emissions and almost 17 tons of fine particle emissions from the five engines.

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality - School Bus Retrofits
Idaho DEQ received a DERA grant of $196,865 to conduct retrofit installations including diesel oxidation catalysts, closed crankcase ventilation units and fuel operated heaters on up to 23 school buses. The project will reduce a half-ton of fine particle emissions and seven tons of nitrogen oxides emissions. This project is especially important to help reduce the exposure of school-age children to harmful diesel emissions from older school buses.

Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Partnership - Truck and Construction Engine Retrofits
The Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Partnership or MCIP of Portland, Oregon, received a DERA grant of $587,583 with matching funds of $483,000. MCIP, in partnership with Just Bucket Excavating, Pacificmark Construction, Raimore Construction, and NESW Trucking, will install advanced exhaust controls on 12 vehicles and non-road equipment and replace six trucks used in construction or freight movement. The project will reduce nitrogen oxides emissions by over 93 tons, fine particle emissions by nearly 5 tons, and save 586,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Washington Department of Ecology - School Bus Retrofits
The Department of Ecology received a DERA grant of $212,067 with matching funds of $141,378. The state will install idle reduction technology (diesel fired engine coolant heaters) on 76 publicly owned school buses. This project will reduce nearly 48 tons of fine particle emissions and 924 tons of nitrogen oxides emissions, reducing the exposure of school-age children to harmful diesel emissions from school buses.

Operating throughout our transportation infrastructure today, over 10 million older diesel engines -- the nation's "legacy fleet" -- built before 2008, need to be replaced or repowered to reduce air pollutants. While some of these will be retired over time, many will remain in use, polluting America's air for the next 20 years. DERA grants and rebates are gradually replacing legacy engines with cleaner diesel engines. Priority is given to fleets in regions with disproportionate amounts of diesel pollution, such as those near ports and rail yards.

EPA's third DERA report to Congress presents the final results from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and covers fiscal years 2009-2011. The report also estimates the impacts from grants funded in fiscal years 2011-2013. EPA estimates that clean diesel funding generates up to $13 of public health benefit for every $1 spent on diesel projects.

Overall, DERA funding has retrofitted or replaced 73,000 vehicles or engines, saved 450 million gallons of fuel, and prevented 4.8 million tons of CO2 emissions - equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from more than 900,000 cars. The Clean Diesel program has provided health benefits including up to 1,700 fewer premature deaths and, although not quantified in the report, reducing nitrogen oxides and fine particles have helped prevent asthma attacks, sick days, and emergency room visits.

To read the Report, visit: www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-03/documents/420r16004.pdf.

For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit: www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

To search DERA recipients by state, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants#dera2.