Seattle -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing over $371,000 in grant funds for Oregon to reduce harmful air pollutants from diesel engines. The funds will be used to support the purchase of school buses that reduce diesel pollution and to reduce exhaust generated by heavy duty diesel-powered trucks that operate in communities.
“These projects provide advanced diesel technology that supports community health in Oregon,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. “Funding through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act provides an important opportunity to leverage public and private funding for cleaner trucks, buses, boats and heavy equipment.”
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is receiving over $126,000 to support the purchase of four school buses that reduce diesel pollution. In addition, over $245,000 will go to Beyond Toxics, a local organization that will use the funds to replace a heavy duty diesel powered truck owned by Apex Disposal Services, which operates in environmental justice neighborhoods. The project will also result in the installation of advanced exhaust controls on seven heavy duty trucks owned and operated by City of Roses Disposal and Recycling Services. These trucks are used in the collection and transport of refuse and construction debris in the Portland and Eugene metropolitan areas.
Of the $8 million awarded nationally, EPA Regions 9 and 10 awarded $2.5 million through the West Coast Collaborative, a partnership of public and private entities in the western states. The $2.5 million will fund eight projects that include school buses, trucks and agricultural equipment that will operate cleaner thru more advanced diesel technology as well as natural gas and electric power alternatives.
Older diesel engines emit significant amounts of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). These pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and even premature death. Older diesel engines also emit significant amounts of black carbon which has been linked to climate change. New diesel and alternative fuel technology can reduce diesel pollution by more than 90 percent.
Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded over 700 grants across the US in 600 communities. 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. The DERA program is set to expire in 2016.
For more information about the West Coast Collaborative and EPA region 9 and 10 projects, visit www.westcoastcollaborative.org. For more information about the projects awarded nationally, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/prgnational.htm.
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