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EPA Helps Put America Back to Work Protecting Human Health and Cleaning Up the Environment

Release Date: 03/27/2009
Contact Information: (Media Only) Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) In a move that will boost the economy, create new jobs, build the foundation for long-term economic strength, and protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a national competition for $156 million in funding to jumpstart clean diesel projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The projects will create jobs and reduce harmful diesel pollution. Nearly $18.5 million of this funding is slated for projects in EPA Region 2, which covers New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally recognized Indian Nations. EPA is encouraging organizations and government entities to apply for the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Applications are due by April 28, 2009.

"This Recovery Act funding for projects to control diesel pollution will go a long way toward creating jobs, while significantly reducing pollution,” said George Pavlou, Acting Regional Administrator. “This is proof positive that a strong economic and environmental future not only can, but does go hand-in-hand.”

The Recovery Act will enable investments of $30 million in funding for the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program. This funding will support the creation of national, state or local innovative clean diesel financing programs. Additionally, $20 million has been slated under the Recovery Act for the National Clean Diesel Emerging Technology Program. This funding will support the use, development and commercialization of emerging technologies that reduce emissions from diesel engines.

The projects may foster a variety of emissions reduction solutions such as add-on emission control retrofit and idle reduction technologies, cleaner fuel use, engine repowering and upgrades, and vehicle or equipment replacement. All projects must provide benefits to air quality in the geographic areas that include New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and tribal lands.

The Recovery Act funding supports ongoing efforts by EPA to support projects that significantly reduce tons of diesel pollution produced, particularly from fleets operating in areas designated by the EPA Administrator as having poor air quality. These efforts reduce pollution from heavy duty diesel vehicles and equipment currently used on or off the road for construction or moving or transporting people and goods. EPA supports a range of diesel reduction projects focused on buses, trucks, ships and locomotives; other projects could target equipment used in applications such as construction, cargo-handling, farming, and mining.

EPA is accepting applications for funding from regional, state, local or tribal agencies or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Applications will also be accepted from nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to people or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or that have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality. School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations, cities and counties are all eligible, provided that they fall within the definition above. ARRA gives precedence to projects that can be started and completed expeditiously.

Diesel engines emit harmful fine particles, nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gases, and toxic air pollutants. These emissions contribute to unhealthy levels of air pollution, particularly in the Northeast, where millions of residents are affected. Fine particles can lodge deep into the lungs, can trigger asthma attacks and, over time, cause permanent damage to the lungs. Nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog, the choking brown haze that settles over many areas on the hottest summer days.

President Obama has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at http://www.recovery.gov.

Interested applicants, who have additional questions about the regional competition, may contact EPA’s Matt Laurita, (212) 637-3895, laurita.matthew@epa.gov. Applicants may submit written questions via email to cleandiesel@epa.gov, or attend an information call-in session, listed at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/prognational.htm#rfa.

To learn more about the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, visit: http://epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/progfinance.htm

To learn more about the National Clean Diesel Emerging Technology Program, visit: http://epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery/progemerge.htm

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