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Nearly $4 Million Pumped into Projects That Will Cut Diesel Pollution in the Northeast

Release Date: 02/16/2007
Contact Information: Richard Cahill, (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) – Projects to reduce diesel pollution in New York and New Jersey are among those receiving EPA funding, Stephen L. Johnson, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced today at a ceremony in New Haven, CT. Johnson presented $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 are part of the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, a partnership of public and private entities in eight Northeastern states.

“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.”

In New York, Erie County’s Department of Environment and Planning received $298,960 to retrofit up to 128 school buses with advanced pollution control technology. Six school districts will install EPA-approved retrofit technology, study the results and help promote the emission reduction technology in nearby communities.

Joel A. Giambra, Erie County Executive said, “Erie County, New York is looking forward to working with our local school districts to reduce toxic air emissions, improving air quality and protecting our children's health, through this EPA grant to retrofit school buses.”

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) received $171,040 to retrofit more than 1,000 school buses with a combination of technologies. This key partner will also aid with outreach as part of EPA's Clean School Bus USA.

Peter R. Smith, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, “Each day, school children ride on buses that emit harmful greenhouse gases, pollute our air, and pose health risks. The grant announced today will provide NYSERDA with additional resources to assist school districts in their efforts to make buses cleaner and help reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Partnering with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation and the New York School Bus Contractor’s Association in the grant submission process, NYSERDA plans to add this funding to the second round of the New York State Clean Air School Bus program, which will assist school districts with the cost to purchase and install emissions reducing technology. This multimillion dollar program will retrofit an estimated 1,300 school buses with diesel particulate filters (DPF), diesel oxidation catalyst
(DOC) mufflers, and Spiracle crankcase filters which will lead to annual reductions in hydrocarbons, particulate matter and carbon monoxide.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey received $125,000 to retrofit five New Jersey diesel locomotive utility track vehicles with idle reduction technologies to reduce diesel pollution. It also plans to add diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) to two or more of these same locomotive engines. By deploying these technologies, the project seeks to reduce the impact of locomotive operations on the environment.

Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) received $299,406 to retrofit up to 100 school buses in five communities in four states, including, Syracuse, NY; Brattleboro, VT; Cambridge, MA; Hamden, CT; and Springfield, MA 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.

"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."

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.

Nationally, EPA has taken critical steps to ensure that the diesel engines manufactured in the future will be significantly cleaner than those operating today; however, diesel engines are very durable, and older models will continue to be used and could pose health and environmental risks for decades. Retrofitting existing diesel engines with pollution control technology is a relatively simple and very cost-effective way to reduce this harmful pollution.

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. The Northeast Diesel Collaborative combines the expertise of public and private partners in a coordinated regional initiative in the eight northeastern states. Established in 2005 by the U.S. EPA, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, the collaborative promotes regulatory and voluntary efforts to reduce emissions from new and existing diesel engines and encourages voluntary emissions reductions of existing fleet through retrofits, cleaner fuel, replacement, reduced idling and other pollution-cutting measures.

For information about Clean School Bus USA, visit: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/schoolbus/

For more information on the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, visit:
http://www.northeastdiesel.org

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