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Hawaii Department of Health to use U.S. EPA $1.73 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for cleaner diesel vehicles

Release Date: 11/05/2009
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

Program to replace DOE school buses, University of Hawaii trucks

(11/05/09) HONOLULU – At an event today at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Division Associate Director Kerry Drake, and the Hawaii Department of Health’s Deputy Director Laurence Lau, announced a $1.73 million effort to fund cleaner diesel vehicles for schools and communities.

The Recovery Act funding will replace five buses from the Hawaii Department of Education’s fleet in Kona and five other HDOE diesel trucks. In addition, two diesel refuse trucks and a diesel truck owned by the University of Hawaii will be replaced. Combined, these diesel vehicle replacements will reduce over 2.3 tons per year of nitrogen oxides and particular matter. The Hawaii Department of Health also highlighted the use of other clean diesel funding to retrofit 15 Honolulu Board of Water Supply vehicles.

“These cleaner diesel vehicles will protect students and employees by reducing their exposure to diesel emissions – this is especially critical for areas impacted by VOG such as the schools in Kona,” said Drake. “We at EPA want to emphasize that additional clean diesel funding is now available, and we encourage you and your partners to apply, so we can realize further diesel emission reductions in Hawaii.”

“The Department of Health is very pleased to work with our partner government agencies,” said Lau. “The grants will reduce diesel emissions in the state, benefiting public health and helping Hawaii’s economy at the same time.”

Funding for the school bus and diesel vehicle replacement comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which focuses on creating jobs and boosting local economies. The EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act is funding the Board of Water Supply retrofits through the Hawaii Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch.

“The Department of Education is delighted to have this opportunity to upgrade our fleet of school buses and large diesel trucks with cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles,” said Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto. “We appreciate being able to improve Hawaii's air quality and reduce our operating costs with these new vehicles.”

“Three new reduced-emission vehicles will enable us to serve Hawai‘i and UH Manoa in a more environmentally friendly manner,” said University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw. “Mahalo to our city, state and federal partners as we travel together on this important road to sustainability, and our deepest appreciation for this funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, inspired by President Obama.”

The HDOH clean diesel effort will also work with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply to retrofit its vehicles to reduce diesel emissions from its fleet.

“Installing the retrofit devices, which burn off and filter out much of the diesel particulate matter before discharging it, is in line with the City’s 21st Century Ahupua‘a plan,” said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. “The Board of Water Supply, like all City agencies, is always looking for ways to improve City operations by reducing waste, protecting the environment and maximizing energy efficiency.”

In addition to helping create and retain jobs, the clean diesel projects would reduce premature deaths, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days, and many other health impacts every year.

Under the Recovery Act state clean diesel funding program, $88.2 million was divided equally through a noncompetitive allocation process, where all 50 states and the District of Columbia received $1.73 million. States, local governments, non-profits and tribal agencies also competed for a portion of $206 million under the Recovery Act’s National Clean Diesel funding program.

EPA issued its next round of request for proposals (RFP) for the National Clean Diesel competitive Grants, with $60 million in available funding. For more information on the current RFP and to apply, visit: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/diesel/grantfund.htm

For information on the EPA’s implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in Hawaii, visit http://www.epa.gov/recovery

For information about the EPA’s clean diesel initiatives in general, visit http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel

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