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EPA Awards Maine $492,200 for Clean Diesel Projects

Release Date: 09/30/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass – Sept. 30, 2008) - EPA has awarded $492,220 to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) for clean diesel projects across the state. This funding is part of $14.8 million that has been made available this year for State Clean Diesel programs nationally. New England states received nearly $1.6 million from EPA, leveraging an additional $780,000 in state funding. In Maine, $295,320 was awarded by EPA with matching funds of $196,880 from the state.

“I am pleased that Maine continues to demonstrate their commitment to reducing exposure to diesel exhaust by retrofitting and replacing vehicles across the state,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Fleet by fleet, we are helping to provide cleaner air for our children.”

“Maine is grateful for EPA’s grant which we will put to immediate use reducing diesel exhaust toxics from diesel trucks, diesel locomotives and school buses -- this will improve Maine’s protection for public health,” said David P. Littell, Commissioner of the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection.

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. In Maine, lifetime asthma rates in children are estimated to be 14.6 percent.

ME DEP will use this grant to fund 50 percent of the purchase of two compressed natural gas school buses to replace conventional diesel versions and to provide direct-fired heaters for twenty-five school buses statewide. In addition, ME DEP will sub-grant $100,000 to the state Public Utilities Commission to supplement an existing low-interest loan program for small businesses to purchase idling reduction technologies to reduce diesel emissions. The grant will also pay for the purchase and installation of an auxiliary power unit on a locomotive.

EPA is working collaboratively with the New England states to reduce emissions of harmful diesel exhaust. In 2005, regions 1 and 2 of the U.S. EPA, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the states and territories of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont established the Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC). NEDC is a partnership of public and private organizations working to improve air quality by taking action to reduce diesel pollution. Puerto Rico joined in 2007 and the U.S. Virgin Islands joined in 2008. Today, the collaborative combines the expertise of public and private partners in a coordinated regional initiative to reduce diesel emissions and improve public health in the eight northeastern states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


More Information:

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Northeast Diesel Collaborative (http://www.northeastdiesel.org/)
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EPA’s National Clean Diesel Program (http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/)