The EPA is awarding a total of $4,654,135 in grants to fund projects and programs that will help reduce diesel emissions throughout New England. Four competitive grant projects were awarded in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; and each New England state received funding through the State Diesel Emissions Reductions Act (DERA) grant program.
This funding was part of more than $77 million in grants awarded nationally for projects that reduce diesel emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older, dirtier engines and vehicles. “Cleaner trucks, buses, boats, and heavy equipment keep local economies thriving while better protecting the health of the people living and working near ports, schools, and along delivery routes,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Combined with $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law going to electric and alternative fuel school buses over the coming months and years, EPA is leading an unprecedented investment in cleaner air for communities across the country.”
“These EPA grants will mean cleaner air for communities throughout New England and especially in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where this year’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) competitive grants were awarded. Reducing diesel emissions at marine ports, along urban corridors as well as at local schools is a cost-effective way to improve air quality for nearby communities,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. “EPA makes it a priority to help our state and local partners achieve cleaner air in their communities. These diesel grants have lasting pollution reductions that will make a difference for many years.”
Among 55 DERA grants awarded nationally by EPA, the four projects selected in New England cover a diverse group of sectors with new, cleaner technologies in school buses, port equipment, freight trucks, and construction equipment, and will help reduce diesel pollution and benefit local communities, many of which are facing environmental justice concerns. To select projects for awards, priority was given to projects that:
- are in areas designated as having poor air quality;
- reduce emissions from ports and other goods movement facilities;
- benefit local communities;
- incorporate local communities in project planning; and
- demonstrate an ability to continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.
To support EPA’s clean air goals, EPA Region 1 is awarding four grants for diesel emissions reduction projects under the DERA National Grants Program.
South Shore Clean Cities, Inc. will receive $563,562 to replace one model year 1997 nonroad ship-loading bulk material handler with an EPA Tier 4 certified hybrid diesel-electric material handler at the Port of New Haven, Conn. Also, the Connecticut Maritime Foundation will receive $231,529 to replace two unregulated propulsion engines and two emergency generator sets with new EPA Tier 3 certified engines and generator sets in a tugboat operating at the Port of New Haven and the waters of southern Connecticut.
“South Shore Clean Cities is thrilled to receive the grant award from the U.S. EPA DERA grant program,” South Shore Clean Cities Executive Director Carl Lisek said. “We look forward to assisting the Connecticut Clean Port Initiative and Gateway Terminals with their decarbonization efforts. This project will improve air quality and quality of life for all of those who live, work and play in the U.S. EPA Region 1 states!”
“Connecticut Maritime Foundation is pleased to once again collaborate with EPA to reduce diesel emissions from marine vessels. Benefits attributed to the early replacement of diesel engines include reduced emissions, fuel conservation, and a better air quality for the region,” said William Gash, Executive Director of the Connecticut Maritime Foundation.
“Thank you to the EPA Region 1 for awarding these competitive grants to two projects that will help make activity in the Port of New Haven, the busiest commercial shipping port on Long Island Sound, cleaner and safer for those who live, work, and recreate near there,” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Improving air quality in New Haven, which ranks 5th nationally as one of the most challenging cities in the country for people with asthma to live in, is incredibly important, as is reducing ozone precursors and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, so these grants are timely and very much appreciated.”
The Town of Arlington, Mass. will receive $326,579 to replace two older diesel school buses with new model year 2022 battery electric school buses including the purchase and installation of two direct current charging stations for the buses. “The district is thrilled to be able to improve the air quality and climate impact of our public-school buses by replacing two of them with new electric buses. We are looking forward to beginning our transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future with the support of the EPA,” said Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, Dr. Elizabeth C. Homan.
“Replacing old diesel vehicles with new electric ones delivers valuable health benefits to Massachusetts communities, by reducing exposure to ambient air pollution, and supports the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts, since the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts,” said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “The Commonwealth is excited to see Arlington take this step to begin the transition to an electric school bus fleet.”
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) will receive $561,656 to help replace 11 freight trucks that move goods and services across the state and one piece of nonroad port cargo handling equipment serving the Port of Providence.
“The communities near the Port of Providence and along the I-95 corridor in Providence suffer the greatest environmental health consequences of air pollution including some of the highest asthma rates in the country,” said RIDEM Acting Director Terry Gray.”Rhode Island is grateful for this EPA grant award, which is another step in improving air quality in this community. It will be invested in cleaner freight trucks, keeping the local economy working while better protecting the health of vulnerable Rhode Islanders.”
Across New England
In addition to the DERA National Grant awards, EPA has awarded $2,904,813 to the six New England states under the 2021 DERA State Grants program. The New England funding was part of $24 million awarded nationally for states and territories to implement diesel emissions reduction programs locally. This program allows states to target funds towards the diesel emissions reduction projects that best align with local priorities.
The DERA Program funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines. Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded over $1 billion in grants and rebates to modernize the nation’s diesel fleet and speed the turnover to cleaner on- and off-road heavy-duty trucks and equipment.
In addition to DERA, following the passage of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA will be making significant investments in the health, equity, and resilience of American communities. EPA will offer a total of $5 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2026 to fund the replacement of dirtier school buses with low- or no-carbon school buses. Each year, $500 million will be available exclusively for electric school buses and $500 million will be available for electric buses and multiple types of cleaner alternative fuel school buses. In line with the President’s commitment to Justice40, EPA is actively working to ensure DERA funding, including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, maximizes the benefits that are directed to underserved communities.