EPA has recently awarded $250,000 to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP). Together with another $250,000 provided by the State, these funds will be used to repower two marine vessels, a passenger ferry and an excursion vessel, operating in the Gulf of Maine.
Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks, including aggravated asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Children are especially vulnerable to these effects. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states.
"Reducing diesel emissions is an effective way to improve air quality - one of the seven key priorities of Administrator Jackson,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “Fewer diesel emissions will help those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems. These projects will help bring cleaner air to the residents of Maine.”
This grant will cover up to 50% of the cost of the engine repowers and will allow Maine Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the Maine State Ferry Service (MSFS) and Captain’s Fish Whale Watch, to install new Tier 2 certified marine diesel engines. This project is expected to reduce annual nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions by 44 and 21 percent, respectively. Additionally, the new engines are estimated to be 10% more fuel efficient. Therefore, every year this project will save on average 8,250 gallons of fuel for the MSFS owned Governor Curtis and 3,000 gallons of fuel for the Pink Lady excursion vessel.
“Maine is grateful for this generous grant from EPA that will make our state’s own contributions that much more meaningful to the environment and economy of our traditional working waterfront,” said Pattie Aho, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “This funding will help us put cleaner, more efficient engines in two important Maine vessels, saving their owners fuel and funds and generating income for the local boatyards who will be contracted to do the installations and associated work.”
The EPA has awarded $50 million for clean diesel projects as part of its ongoing campaign to reduce harmful emissions in the air and better protect people's health. These efforts will replace, retrofit or repower more than 8,000 older school buses, trucks, locomotives, vessels, and other diesel powered machines. Reducing emissions from existing diesels provides cost-effective public health and environmental benefits while supporting green jobs at manufacturers, dealerships and businesses across the country. This is the fourth year of the program.
Other New England entities receiving grants this year include the Massachusetts Port Authority, Chelsea Collaborative, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Conservation Law Foundation Ventures, and the Greater Hartford Transit District. In addition, under the state clean diesel grant program, EPA recently announced that it is awarding $1.3 million to the New England state environmental agencies for clean diesel projects in New England.