Diesel Engine Grant Program Nets Major Air, Public Health Benefits

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Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2016 9:24 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Clean diesel grants aimed at cleaning up old diesel engines have greatly improved public health by cutting harmful pollution that causes premature deaths, asthma attacks, and missed school and workdays, according to a new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since its start in 2008, the Diesel Emission Reduction Act program has significantly improved air quality for communities across the country by retrofitting and replacing older diesel engines.

Diesel exhaust significantly contributes to the formation of dangerous soot and smog and is likely to increase the risk of cancer. The funding from the program has helped clean up approximately 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxides and 14,700 tons of particulate matter, which are linked to a range of respiratory ailments and premature death. The program has also saved 450 million gallons of fuel and prevented 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. EPA estimates that clean diesel funding generates up to $13 of public health benefit for every $1 spent on diesel projects.

"EPA is making a visible difference in communities that need it most through the funding of cleaner trucks, buses, trains, and other heavy equipment," said Janet McCabe, the EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. "The report on DERA’s impact offers striking evidence that this program is succeeding in providing Americans with cleaner air where they live and work while also cutting the pollution that fuels climate change."

Operating throughout our transportation infrastructure today, 10.3 million older diesel engines, the nation’s "legacy fleet," built before 2008, need to be replaced or repowered to reduce air pollutants. While some of these will be retired over time, many will remain in use, polluting America’s air for the next 20 years. DERA grants and rebates are gradually replacing legacy engines with cleaner diesel engines. Priority is given to fleets in regions with disproportionate amounts of diesel pollution, such as those near ports and rail yards.

This third report to Congress presents the final results from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and covers fiscal years 2009-2011. It also estimates the impacts from grants funded in fiscal years 2011-2013.

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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