Forget Those Fumes: EPA Offers Diesel-Overhaul Funding

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made $1 million available for tribes to apply for grants to overhaul their older-model diesel engines.
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Tired of that diesel smell wafting from your tribe’s engines? A federal retrofitting grant program may be able to help.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award a total of $1 million to tribes looking to establish clean diesel projects, in the Diesel Emission Reduction (DERA) program grant competition, which allows tribes to request up to $800,000 in funding.

“EPA anticipates awarding up to five tribal assistance agreements, and projects may include replacing, upgrading or retrofitting school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, energy production generators or other diesel engines,” the agency said in a statement. “Proposals from tribal applicants must be received by August 23, 2016.”

The competition is a funding mechanism to get the country’s fleet of diesel engines cleaned up and modernized. Old engines emit air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, the EPA said, pollutants that are “linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and premature death.”

The grants, awarded since 2008, both removes air pollution and saves fuel, the EPA said, and this is just the third time the competitive grants have been offered. The EPA awarded more than $925,000 to three tribes in Washington State in 2014, enabling them to replace older marine engines with newer, more efficient ones, the agency said. And in 2015 the EPA gave more than $1.5 million to six tribes in Region 6, which encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma and New Mexico, and Regions 9 and 10, Hawaii and Alaska, respectively.

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“The Tribal Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program gives priority to projects which achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions and exposure in areas designated as having poor air quality and areas which receive a disproportionate quantity of air pollution from diesel fleets,” the EPA said. “Further, priority for funding may be given to projects which address the needs and concerns of local communities, those that use partnerships to leverage additional resources and expertise to advance the goals of the project, and those which can demonstrate the ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.”

Details on how to apply are available at the EPA’s Clean Diesel Tribal Grants page.