The Upper Skagit Tribe, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Lummi Nation are all beneficiaries of a total of nearly $1 million in grants to swap out old diesel engines for more energy-efficient models, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 24.
The North Puget Sound tribal communities will use these funds provided under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act to reduce pollution from fishing vessels. The lion’s share of the grant will go to the Swinomish, who will receive $792,000 for its fishing fleet to reduce diesel pollution, the EPA said. That tribe will replace 12 old diesel engines with new, low-emission models, improving air quality for the entire community. Emissions will also be reduced via a new practice of shutting down engines during loading and unloading, the EPA said.
The other North Puget Sound tribal communities receiving grants—$77,250 will go to the Lummi Nation, and $55,890 to the Upper Skagit Tribe—will also use them to replace engines on fishing vessels. The Lummi in particular live in one of the most polluted counties of the U.S., the EPA said, and have diesel engines dating back to 1992.
“Puget Sound tribal communities depend on fishing, and this funding for cleaner marine engines results in tribal fleets that are better for the air and for the health of tribal communities,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10, in the agency’s statement. “Funding through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act provides an important opportunity to leverage public and tribal funds for cleaner marine vessels.”