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EPA Awards Rhode Island $196,880 for Clean Diesel Projects -- Part of Nearly $2.4 Million State and Federal Grants Funded Across New England

Release Date: 09/25/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass – September 25, 2008) - Today, EPA announced the award of $196,880 to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) 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.

“I am pleased that Rhode Island continues to demonstrate their commitment to reducing exposure to diesel exhaust by retrofitting and replacing publicly owned 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.”

“For the past several years, Rhode Island has been developing a program of regulatory and voluntary measures to reduce the emissions from diesel powered vehicles and equipment, and this EPA grant will enable us to build upon the successful efforts already underway that reduce diesel emissions from school buses,” noted Department of Environmental Management Director W. Michael Sullivan, PhD. “A portion of the grant funds will be used to retrofit diesel powered equipment operated by the RI Airport Corporation, a step that will be protective of air quality and human health. We thank EPA for its continuing commitment to working with our state and share a common goal that will benefit all Rhode Islanders: cleaner and healthier air for us all to breathe.”

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 Rhode Island, lifetime asthma rates in children are estimated to be 13.9 percent.

RI DEM will use this grant to retrofit diesel equipment operated by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. In addition, this grant will support outreach and education efforts to diesel fleet operators and other stakeholders on strategies for reducing diesel emissions.

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 (northeastdiesel.org/)
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EPA’s National Clean Diesel Program (epa.gov/cleandiesel/)

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