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EPA Provides $1.5 Million for Clean Diesel Upgrades in Massachusetts; Clean diesel projects reduce early deaths and asthma attacks, boost local economy

Release Date: 09/19/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 19, 2011) – The U.S. EPA is providing over $1.5 million for four projects in Massachusetts to improve air quality through rapid deployment of clean diesel technologies. The EPA funds are part of a larger collaborative effort between EPA and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and several other organizations, to leverage significant resources to reduce diesel emissions, improve public health, and promote clean diesel technology.

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 a proven and effective way to improve air quality. Investing in Clean Diesel projects here in Massachusetts will protect peoples’ health, improve air quality and help our economy by keeping jobs here in our communities," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “Reducing diesel emissions means cleaner air for everyone, which is especially important for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems.”

"As part of Gov. Patrick’s ongoing commitment to protecting public health and the environment, these upgrades will reduce pollution and keep our air cleaner in many communities across the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “Retrofitting this heavy duty transportation fleet will lower harmful diesel emissions and provide air quality benefits for years to come.”

The projects include a $500,000 EPA grant to the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) that will help improve air quality in South Boston, as truck owners upgrade diesel engines to new low-polluting models that will drastically reduce diesel exhaust. The EPA funding for Massport will replace 20 trucks operating at the Conley Container Terminal in the Port of Boston which are 15-25 years old, with new trucks that comply with 2007 emission standards. The particulate matter emissions from each new truck will be more than 20 times cleaner when compared to the highly polluting models currently in use; in terms of nitrogen oxides, the new trucks are 3 times cleaner than the trucks that they are replacing.

“We are proud to partner with the EPA on this important program,” said David S. Mackey, Interim CEO of Massport. “The funding will allow us to implement a Clean Truck initiative at Conley Container Terminal aimed at reducing port-related emissions, and producing significant air quality benefits for residents in South Boston and other nearby communities.”

Other related projects announced today to reduce diesel emissions in the greater Boston area include:

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection: EPA is providing $373,750 to Mass DEP. This project will install diesel particulate filters on heavy-duty wheeled loaders owned and operated by the Mass. Dept. of Transportation (MassDOT), reducing PM by 0.18 tons per year, volatile organic compounds (VOC) (a precursor to ozone), by 0.21 tons per year, and carbon monoxide (CO) by .75 tons per year.  The retrofitted equipment will reduce emissions on or near roadways spanning several communities across the state. 

“This grant will allow MassDEP and MassDOT to continue our successful collaboration to significantly reduce diesel emissions from the state fleet. The grant will clean the air that we breathe and improve the environment in our communities,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “I want to thank the EPA for this important funding and for its support of our diesel emission reduction efforts.”

Chelsea Collaborative, Inc.: EPA is providing $280,000 to the Chelsea Collaborative’s Green Space and Recreation Committee to repower Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU) on 11 produce delivery trucks operating in Everett and Chelsea, Mass.  The diesel operated TRUs will be replaced with all electric TRUs powered by main engine-driven onboard electric generation/battery storage systems.  The TRUs will also be able to plug-in directly to docking stations at the owner’s, Don Shapiro Produce, shipping dock in Everett.  Eliminating the need to idle, the project directly benefits the densely populated communities of Everett and Chelsea, both considered environmental justice communities.  The project follows a Recovery Act-funded project through which the Chelsea Collaborative replaced 90 TRUs at the New England Produce Center.

CLF Ventures, Inc.: EPA is providing $391,500 to CLF Ventures.  This project will repower four “tier 0” (pre-regulated) marine engines in two marine vessels: The Atlantic Queen II, an 80-foot marine fishing/excursion vessel out of Rye, N.H.; and The Captain’s Lady II, a 90-foot charter fishing and excursion vessel operating out of Newburyport, Mass.  The project demonstrates a cost-effective approach to removing NOx emissions while also achieving an estimated 14 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

"This EPA funding will allow CLF Ventures, Inc. to work with Atlantic Fishing Fleet, Inc. and Captain’s Fishing Parties to reduce their impacts on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing fuel costs during hard times," said Dr. JoAnne Shatkin, CEO of CLF Ventures, Inc., the non-profit consulting arm of the Conservation Law Foundation.

In addition to helping to create and retain jobs, the clean diesel projects would reduce premature deaths, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days, and many other health impacts every year.

More information:

- EPA clean diesel work in New England (epa.gov/region1/topics/air/dieselexhaust.html)

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