EPA is announcing $4 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from marine and inland water ports, many of which are in areas that face environmental justice challenges. Most of the country’s busiest ports are located near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in nearby communities can be exposed to high levels of diesel emissions.
Older diesel engines can emit large amounts of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and even premature death. Clean diesel projects at ports, employing readily available technology, will make immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits.
“Ports are essential to the nation’s economy and transportation infrastructure, but they also are home to some of the nation’s toughest environmental challenges,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “These grants will help port authorities to provide immediate emissions reductions that will benefit those who work and live in port-side communities.”
This grant competition is available under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) and is the first competition to focus on solely reducing emissions at ports. DERA funds are used to clean up the legacy fleet of diesel engines that were produced before more recent environmental standards.
EPA anticipates awarding between two and five assistance agreements to port authorities through the DERA program. Port authorities, governmental or public agencies that operate ports, are able to work directly with a variety of fleet owners to lower emissions from different types of equipment used in a port setting. Projects may include drayage trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and cargo handling equipment at marine or inland ports. Priority will be given to ports located in areas of poor air quality.