The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supporting local efforts to curb diesel engine pollution across the nation. The EPA recently announced $1.18 million in grants for two organizations, located in the New York City metropolitan area, that work to replace old, dirty diesel engines on boats with models that cause less pollution.
The grant is a part of a larger attempt to reduce emissions from the nation's existing fleet of diesel engines through the agency's Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program. Under that program, the EPA has awarded over $8 million to communities in 21 states and Puerto Rico in 2015 alone. The money funds projects such as the New York boat replacement initiative. Some cities are retrofitting older school buses to improve air quality for children riding to school, while others are upgrading marine propulsion or replacing long haul truck engines.
It is hoped that these projects will improve air quality in economically disadvantaged communities whose residents suffer from higher-than-average cases of asthma, heart and lung disease, while supporting economic growth.
"Older diesel engines generate significant amounts of air pollution that can make people sick," said EPA Regional Administrator, Judith A. Enck. "Replacing or retrofitting old polluting diesel engines reduces people's exposure to pollutants that can lead to asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days and many other health impacts."
There are approximately 11 million older diesel engines in use today, according to the EPA, and they continue to contribute to poor air quality. Since the EPA's diesel emission reduction grant program began in 2008, the agency has awarded over 700 grants across the U.S. in 600 communities.
Local communities and organizations should partner with environmental consultants, who can help create strategic plans to improve the environment.