The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $5 million in grant funding for clean diesel projects at U.S. ports.
The selected projects in California, Oregon, New Jersey and Texas will improve the air quality for people who live and work near the ports, and reduce emissions of the greenhouse gasses that lead to climate change, EPA said.
“EPA and ports have a shared interest in working together to find practical solutions to reduce pollution for the benefit of workers and communities,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said at a conference hosted by American Association of Ports Authorities, where she announced the grant recipients. “The key to our success, the key to healthier families and strong economic growth, is all of us working together.”
Most of the country’s busiest ports are located near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in neighboring communities are exposed to high levels of diesel emissions, which contribute to smog and soot that can cause illness, hospitalization, or premature death. Since most ships and equipment at ports run on diesel engines, clean diesel projects at ports produce immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits to those living and working in the area. Depending on the type of equipment, new diesel engines are 90% cleaner than the old engines they replace.
The grants are funded through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and are located in areas where communities need the most help with local air quality. Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded more than 700 grants in 600 communities across the country. And 150 DERA grants have been targeted to improving air quality at or near ports, with about $175M in funding. EPA estimates that every $1 in DERA funding generates up to $13 in health care savings. In addition, every dollar of DERA funding, leverages $2-3 from project partners.
The DERA grant recipients are:
- California - The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department will replace a diesel-powered crane with an all-electric crane that produces zero emissions at the San Pedro Bay.
- New Jersey - The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection will replace Tier 1 engines on marine vessels with Tier 4 certified engines significantly reducing particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (Nox) and other pollutants. These vessels operate between Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey and terminal locations in New York City.
- Oregon - The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will retrofit cargo handling equipment with diesel particulate filters and replace 23 drayage trucks with ones powered by certified engines that are model year 2011 or newer at the Port of Portland.
- Texas - The Port of Houston Authority will replace 25 drayage trucks with drayage trucks powered by certified engines that are model year 2011 or newer. These drayage trucks operate in the Port of Houston and along the Houston Ship Channel.
Through these projects, recipients will strive to build partnerships among port stakeholders in order to promote ongoing and long-term efforts to reduce pollution from port operations.