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News Release

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced $5.4 million in grant funding is expected to be awarded for tribal and insular areas to establish lower-emission diesel projects. In total, 12 tribal and insular area assistance agreements are expected to be awarded as part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction (DERA) program, which funds projects to clean up the nation’s legacy fleet of diesel engines.

“The Biden Administration continues to work with tribal nations across the country to replace or upgrade older, higher polluting diesel engines, making important progress in reducing pollution and advancing environmental justice across the country,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With an unprecedented $5 billion investment in low- and zero-emission school buses from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law coming soon for communities across the country, this is only the beginning.”

The Diesel Emissions Reduction program is prioritizing projects that help achieve the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities.

Older diesel engines emit more air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter than newer diesel engines. These pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and premature death. The projects include replacing municipal trucks, marine engines used in fishing vessels, generators used for energy production in tribal villages and four new electric school buses. Tribal projects will occur in areas across the country.

Recognizing that tribes and insular areas have various administrative, technical, and financial considerations that other Diesel Emissions Reduction National grant program applicants may not, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a separate funding opportunity with flexibilities to address the unique considerations of tribal and insular area applicants. In 2021, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offered the first Diesel Emissions Reduction Tribal and Insular Area Request for Applications (RFA) with no mandatory cost share. Although funds were competed under a single Request for Application, tribal applicants only competed against tribal applicants, and insular areas only competed against other insular area applicants. The 2021 competitive process saw more tribal application submissions than in any previous year, with 15 completely new tribal applicants.

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Tribal and Insular Area Grants program gives priority to projects which achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions and exposure in areas designated as having poor air quality. Priority for funding is given to projects that 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.

The awards are expected as follows:

Applicant NameEPA RegionAwardAward

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation

9

$158,000 

Mining Equipment

Ho-Chunk Nation 

5

$841,500 

Construction Equipment 

Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation 

$489,155 

Municipal Fleet

Quinault Indian Nation 

10

$510,508 

Ports – Marine Engines 

Native Village of Deering 

10

$418,140 

Stationary Generators

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation 

9

$415,000 

Agriculture

Tanana Chiefs Conference 

10

$800,000 

Stationary Generators 

Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation 

10

$364,900 

Ports – Marine Engines

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community 

10

$379,511

Ports – Marine Engines

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

4

$502,797

4 Electric School Buses 

Insular Area Grants

Applicant NameEPA RegionAwardProject Type

Port Authority of Guam

9

$250,000

Ports – Cargo Handling Equipment

Guam Power Authority

9

$250,000

Municipal Fleet

*Awardee names in bold have been finalized and awarded

Since 2008, DERA grants have funded projects that have significantly improved air quality and provided critical health benefits by reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and saving millions of gallons of fuel.

EPA will offer funding for clean school bus funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion over five years for the Clean School Bus Program. In Spring 2022, EPA plans to announce a new Clean School Bus rebate program for applicants to replace existing school buses with low- or zero-emission school buses. EPA may prioritize applications that replace school buses in high need local educational agencies, low-income and rural areas, tribal schools, and applications that provide cost share. To learn more about the upcoming Clean School Bus Program, please visit Clean School Bus Program Funding.

For more information on the Tribal and Insular Area Request for Applications (RFA) and related documents, visit: Tribal Grants: Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).

For more information on the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program, visit: Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Funding.

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