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EPA Announces First of Nearly $100 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Create Jobs and Protect Colorado's Environment

Release Date: 03/27/2009
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (303) 312-6281, niles.laura@epa.gov; Larry Grandison, (303) 312-6599, grandison.lawrence@epa.gov

(Denver, Colo. - March 27, 2009) Colorado’s environment and economy received a big boost on Friday when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first award of nearly $100 million in environmental stimulus funding to be invested in Colorado under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). The award is the first EPA-related environmental stimulus grant to be awarded in the nation. In addition to the state award, EPA also announced the availability of $7.3 million for competitive clean diesel grants available in EPA Region 8 – which includes the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming—under the Recovery Act. These grants, funded through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, are available to qualified applicants through April 28, 2009.

EPA Acting Regional Administrator Carol Rushin outlined the total package of environmental stimulus coming to Colorado under the Recovery Act, which was signed by President Obama in Denver on February 17, 2009. These resources include more than $65 million for improving drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. EPA is also considering pending proposals for millions of dollars in Superfund site cleanup, as much as $2.5 million for leaking underground storage tanks and as much as $2 million for revitalizing Brownfield sites in Colorado. Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Brownfields are properties available for expansion or redevelopment of which its reuse may be complicated by present or potential hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

“This is how we create new, green jobs while we protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Carol Rushin. “The Recovery Act will put Colorado to work by improving water infrastructure, cleaning up and redeveloping Superfund and Brownfields sites, and developing clean diesel technologies that bolster the state’s economy. These projects not only create and protect jobs, but cut costs and increase demand for raw materials, goods and services across the state.”

In a ceremony at EPA’s regional office in Denver on Friday, Acting Regional Administrator Rushin and Jim Martin, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), announced a $1.73 million Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant for clean diesel projects under the Recovery Act. CDPHE will use the funds to retrofit school buses throughout the state of Colorado using the following retrofit technologies: engine pre-heaters, diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase filtration units. This grant will also help fund the purchase of hybrid-diesel electric school buses.

"Reducing exposure to toxic diesel exhaust for Colorado school children is a priority of the Colorado Clean Diesel Program,” said Jim Martin, Executive Director of the CDPHE. “We've already retrofitted about one thousand school buses across the state. With DERA and Recovery Act funding, we hope to retrofit thousands more."

State and local governments, nonprofit organizations and tribal agencies receiving this funding will help create jobs and protect communities and the environment from diesel emissions. Grantees will use these funds to implement projects that will cut thousands of tons of diesel emissions, including particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. As a result, the projects will reduce premature deaths, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days, and many other health impacts.

“This week, we have had three announcements of new businesses and new jobs through wind turbines, solar technology and water technology. We know that the New Energy Economy means a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Barbara O’Brien.

The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), the air quality planning agency for the Denver metropolitan area and a leader in advancing clean diesel technologies, also received a $455,000 DERA grant from EPA to pursue clean diesel outcomes. This grant was awarded as part of a competition EPA conducted last year.

"The RAQC has implemented many clean diesel projects to improve air quality,” said Andrew Spielman, Chairman of the RAQC. “We look forward to expanding our diesel emission reduction efforts, which will not only positively impact public health in the region, but will also boost regional job retention and creation. We view the availability of additional Recovery Act funds as an opportunity to dig deeper to further reduce diesel emissions in the area."

Preference will be given to projects that can be started and completed expeditiously. EPA plans to select grantees and provide funding by June, 2009. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Rebecca Russo in EPA Region 8 at 303-312-6757.

More information about clean diesel competitive grants offered under the Recovery Act can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/region8/air/rmcdc.html

Information on EPA activities under the Recovery Act: http://www.epa.gov/recovery/

National Recovery Act efforts: http://www.recovery.gov/