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Air Quality Group Receives $100,000+ EPA Grant to Retrofit Construction Equipment in N.H. and Mass.

Release Date: 03/17/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 17, 2008) – EPA is awarding $102,110 to Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) to install advanced pollution control equipment on up to five pieces of construction equipment operating in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

In a related action, EPA, through the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC) Emissions Reduction Program, is also announcing the availability of nearly $5.4 million in grants and innovative financing to significantly reduce diesel emissions and improve public health in EPA Regions 1 and 2. Today, EPA issued the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative Emissions Reduction Request for Proposals from regional, state and local governments, federally recognized tribes, port authorities, environmental organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals, and others interested in establishing innovative projects to reduce diesel emissions in their communities.

“Reducing emissions from diesel engines is one of the most important air quality challenges facing New England,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. ”Fleet by fleet, we are making the black puff of smoke from diesel vehicles a thing of the past.”

Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks, including aggravated asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Children are especially vulnerable to these effects. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states. In New Hampshire and Massachusetts, lifetime asthma rates in children are estimated to be 11.6 and 14.6 percent respectively.

"On behalf of the eight Northeastern states and Puerto Rico, who joined NESCAUM in submitting the proposal, I want to thank EPA for recognizing the importance of diesel retrofits for the construction sector," said Debbi Edelstein of NESCAUM, manager of NEDC. “We need to build momentum in this sector, and this grant is a welcome boost."

The NEDC is a partnership of public and private organizations working to improve air quality by taking action to reduce diesel pollution. The NEDC was established in 2005 by Regions 1 and 2 of the U.S. EPA, NESCAUM and the states and territories of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Puerto Rico joined in 2007.

Today’s request for proposals makes approximately $5.4 million available for clean diesel projects in the eight northeastern states - including Tribal lands belonging to the federally recognized tribes in these regions, or the territory of the US Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Projects can involve cleaner fuels, idle reduction, and retrofit technology for a range of diesel engines, including school and transit buses, port equipment and construction vehicles.

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