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Northeast Diesel Collaborative announces $3.8 million in new clean diesel projects

Release Date: 02/16/2007
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, (617) 918-1865

(Boston, MA - February 16, 2007) In a ceremony at a New Haven High School construction project, Stephen L. Johnson, the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, announced $3.8 million in funding to eight organizations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont, to help reduce pollution from diesel vehicles operating in the Northeast. The funds were made available by EPA through the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, a partnership of public and private entities in eight Northeastern states. One of the recipients, the City of New Haven, received nearly $115,000 to install advanced pollution control technology on construction equipment operating at school construction sites in downtown New Haven.

President Bush and EPA are committed to making that black puff of diesel smoke something you only read about in history books, said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. Together with our partners in the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, we are moving America toward a cleaner, healthier, more productive future.


"New Haven's school construction project is one of the largest and most ambitious in the country," said Mayor John DeStefano. "But as we continue to renovate or rebuild every school in the City, it's crucial to make sure we're addressing the environment both inside and outside the classroom. This grant will help make the air our children breathe easier and ensure that New Haven is home to the cleanest and most environmentally friendly construction sites in the state."


CT DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, "Today is a breakthrough day in efforts to reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality and the health of Connecticut's citizens. Too many people, especially our seniors, those who are ill and our youngsters, have been bearing the burden and suffering the consequences of air quality that does not meet federal standards. We must do better for them - and for others. EPA's announcement of grants for two projects in Connecticut, and an announcement later today of plans to retrofit school buses in Bridgeport, continue to move us in the right direction."


Diesel exhaust particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, including aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems in healthy individuals. 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 and rates near 15 percent in areas of New York City.


The grants are part of EPA's National Clean Diesel Campaign which promotes regulatory and voluntary efforts to reduce emissions from new and existing diesel engines by 2014. Through this program, EPA provided $1.4 million for the new projects, leveraging an additional $2.4 million in matching funds through the NEDC. NEDC was established in 2005 by U.S. EPA?s New England and New York regional offices, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and eight northeastern states, to collaborate in reducing emissions from all diesel vehicles and equipment including construction, cargo, passenger, and rail vehicles.


"EPA's grants under the Collaborative banner not only fund important projects in key sectors, but also raise awareness of the problems associated with diesel exhaust and help bring the private sector into the conversation about strategies and funding," said Debbi Edelstein of NESCAUM, manager of NEDC. "We are especially pleased that this round of grants leveraged nearly twice as much in partnership funding, which will lead to significant improvements in local air quality."


Other grants announced today include:


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $50,145 to retrofit up to 18 pieces of non-road construction equipment statewide with a combination of diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate matter filters; and

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for $125,000 to retrofit five diesel locomotive utility track vehicles with idle reduction technologies and two or more of the same locomotives with diesel oxidation catalysts.

In addition, the following six organizations received funds totaling nearly $1.14 million to retrofit nearly 1400 school buses in communities across the Northeast.

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability received $299,406 to retrofit up to 100 school buses in five communities in four states, including, Brattleboro, VT; Cambridge, MA; Hamden, CT; Springfield, MA; and Syracuse, NY, with advanced pollution control technology. Communities will also be able to use funds to offset the cost of switching to a blend of biodiesel fuel.


Erie County, New York ? Department of Environmental Protection, received $298,960 to retrofit up to 128 school buses with advanced pollution control technology.


Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation received $194,494 to retrofit up to 25 school buses statewide with a combination of auxiliary heaters, diesel oxidation catalysts and crankcase filters.


Maine Department of Environmental Protection received $55,823 to retrofit 11 school buses in southern Maine with a diesel multi-filter technology that reduces per vehicle emissions by approximately 50 percent.


New York State Energy and Research Development Authority received $171,040 as part of a project to retrofit more than 1,000 school buses with a combination of technologies including, diesel oxidation catalysts, crankcase filters and diesel particulate matter filters.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts received $120,000 to retrofit up to 98 school buses statewide with a combination of diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate matter filters.

In another announcement scheduled for later in the day in Bridgeport, CT Department of Environmental Protection will announce a program to reduce diesel emissions, improve the state's air quality and protect public health. That announcement involves the use of approximately $500,000 to retrofit 111 school buses as a result of a 2003 environmental enforcement case against Virginia Electric and Power Company.

More information on EPA?s National Clean Diesel Campaign:
http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/index.htm

More information on clean school buses:
http://www.epa.gov/ne/eco/diesel/school_buses.html

More information on the Northeast Diesel Collaborative:
http://www.northeastdiesel.org