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Economic Recovery Funding Clearing the Air and Creating Jobs in Charleston, SC

Release Date: 03/02/2010
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – March 2, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator of Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy joined South Carolina State Ports Authority President & CEO Jim Newsome, S.C. Department Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Deputy Commissioner Bob King, and SC State Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Betsy Carpentier and the private sector in an event that illustrated how funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being used to improve air quality and create jobs in Georgia. The event included a tour and demonstration of how filters and cleaner engines installed on buses, trucks and other diesel equipment help to reduce the amount of harmful soot particles in the air.

EPA recognized the Port of Charleston for using ARRA funds to repower and retrofit cargo handling and other diesel equipment at the Port of Charleston. SCSDE was recognized for using ARRA funding to replace old school buses with new low emission hybrid buses and retrofit existing buses with cleaner technology.

"These Recovery Act projects are improving air quality throughout the Charleston area" said Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator of Air and Radiation. "Cleaner air means fewer asthma attacks, hospital visits, and better health in the community."

With the help of stimulus funds, the Port of Charleston is implementing a $3.6-million project to reduce diesel emissions from cargo handling equipment, tug boats, a harbor dredge and local drayage trucks. Local partners are providing $1.6 million in matching funds in addition to the nearly $2 million in stimulus money. This project, which is part of Charleston’s Pledge for Growth environmental initiative, will reduce total annual NOx emissions by 176.25 tons and particulate matter (PM) by 9.88 tons per year, while helping to create or retain 37 jobs.

With over $700,000 in ARRA funds the SC Department of Education is replacing four existing 65-passenger school buses with four hybrid electric buses. The department will also retrofit crankcase ventilation filtration systems on 500 of its 1995 model buses. That upgrade will result in an estimated 4.7 ton reduction in diesel emissions. This project is expected to create and/or save 17 jobs—putting people to work building the buses and retrofit devices

One year ago, EPA was entrusted with $7.2 billion dollars to invest in our economy --- to rebuild critical infrastructure in our communities; to invest in jobs that would put our citizens back to work and to rekindle a strong and thriving economy. In that short year, EPA has worked diligently to move that money into the hands of our partners and to clear the way for rapid investments in construction, land reuse and redevelopment.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Feb. 17, and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at www.Recovery.gov.