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Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Awarded $850,000 for Diesel Emissions Reduction Project

Release Date: 01/27/2009
Contact Information: Pam Emerson, (206) 553-2858, (206) 890-0916 cell, EPA Diesel Team lead, emerson.pamela@epa.gov; Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

Partners’ contributions bring project total to $1,168,000

(Seattle, WASH. – January 27, 2009) The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency was awarded an $850,000 grant today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant will be used to bolster the Clean Air Agency’s “Puget Sound Ports Cargo-Handling Equipment Replacement and Retrofit Program” aimed at reducing diesel emissions at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. The Clean Air Agency is investing an additional $118,000 in the program, and the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are together kicking in $200,000 in leveraged funds.

Today’s grant, awarded by Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA’s acting Regional Administrator, will help reduce harmful diesel emissions through a combination of replacing off-highway truck engines and retrofitting cargo-handling equipment at both Puget Sound ports. Approximately 350 pieces of cargo handling equipment operate at each port, emitting tons of harmful diesel pollutants. This project will enable both facilities to retrofit more than 10% of their fleets.

According to EPA’s Pirzadeh, the project will mean better air quality in neighboring communities and is a sound investment in public health.

“We’d like to see many more projects like this one,” said Pirzadeh. “By cutting diesel emissions from heavy duty engines at our ports, these retrofits and engine replacements will help us clear the air and protect more people from the hazards of diesel exhaust and fine particulates. Besides, we estimate that the money we are investing here will return approximately $17 million in health benefits. I like that equation.”

Dennis McLerran, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, agrees. The more we learn about diesel pollution and its detrimental impacts on our health and environment, the more critical it becomes to support projects like this," he said. "This project demonstrates how the commitment of public and private partners, from the federal, state and local levels, joining together on solutions can make a real difference for air quality in and around our port communities."

Additionally, the project will help the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma meet specific pollution reduction targets they have set for themselves via commitments in the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy – a voluntary emissions reduction strategy developed with the support of the Clean Air Agency, EPA and Washington State Department of Ecology and adopted by both Puget Sound ports and Port Metro Vancouver in British Columbia last year.

The grant program making the award is part of the highly successful West Coast Collaborative (WCC), a public-private partnership to reduce diesel emissions in the west, boasting over 1000 partners, including the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and both ports. Since its inception in 2004, the West Coast Collaborative has awarded over 100 grants to reduce diesel emissions from the heavy duty engines used in goods movement, agriculture, construction, and public fleet vehicles like school buses. It is currently in the process of awarding a total of nearly $5.4 million in funding along the west coast and is preparing to release its 2009 request for proposals in the coming months.

The West Coast Collaborative is part of EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign – a nationwide partnership between leaders from federal, state, and local governments, the private sector and environmental groups.

For more information about the West Coast Collaborative, including details about an informational webcast scheduled for January 29th that will highlight upcoming funding opportunities for diesel emissions reductions projects in the west, please visit: www.westcoastcollaborative.org

For more information about the National Clean Diesel Campaign, visit: www.epa.gov/otaq/diesel/

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