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EPA delivers over $2 Million to help Portland, Multnomah County to reduce diesel pollution

Release Date: 05/05/2009
Contact Information: Wayne Elson, EPA Region 10, Diesel Team lead, Seattle, (206) 553-1463, Cell: (206) 369-7888; Kevin Downing, Air Quality, Clean Diesel Initiative, Portland (503) 229-6549; William Knight, Communications & Outreach, Portland, (503) 229-5680, Cell: (503) 784-6385

Federal stimulus dollars will help Portland, Multnomah County and others reduce diesel pollution from municipal fleets and construction equipment.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has awarded DEQ $1.73 million to retrofit heavy duty diesel engines in public fleets, transit buses and off-road construction equipment in the Portland metropolitan area and Lane County.   The funding comes thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.  
 
EPA also announced an award of $498,726 to the City of Portland, made in January 2009.  Like the Recovery Act award, the City of Portland grant will also help reduce diesel emissions from off-road construction equipment in Portland and Multnomah County and is an example of the type of retrofit project the additional Recovery Act funds will help catalyze.
 
Today’s grants, awarded by Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA’s acting Regional Administrator, will help reduce harmful diesel emissions by retrofitting vehicles and equipment with state-of-the art retrofit technology.  Ultimately, these projects will improve public health and help stimulate the green technology sector of Oregon’s economy.
 
"These cost-effective projects will help Oregon speed its journey to economic recovery,” says EPA Acting Region 10 Administrator Michelle Pirzadeh.  "This funding will bolster the state's economy and create new, green jobs that will improve air quality in Oregon.”
 
EPA and DEQ estimate that the retrofits will reduce diesel particulate matter emissions by 25 percent or more per vehicle.
 
“The influx of this funding couldn’t happen at a better time for Oregon’s Clean Diesel Initiative,” says DEQ Director Dick Pedersen.  “Continuing to stimulate job growth in the green sector while taking steps to better protect public health is a win-win for Oregon.”
 
Currently diesel exhaust ranks among the top air toxics in Oregon. It is linked to a number of significant public health and environmental issues: asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, regional haze and global warming. Oregonians have an increased risk for cancer and other health risks at current levels of exposure in everyday life.  In 2007, the Oregon Legislature adopted House Bills 2172 and 3201 that outlined an incentive program along with other actions to dramatically reduce Oregonians exposure to diesel pollution. 
 
These efforts to fund reductions in diesel pollution are part of the highly successful West Coast Collaborative, a public-private partnership to reduce diesel emissions in the west, boasting over 1000 partners. Since its inception in 2004, the collaborative has awarded over 100 grants to reduce diesel emissions from the heavy duty engines used in goods movement, agriculture, construction, and public fleet vehicles like school buses. 
 
The West Coast Collaborative is part of EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign – a nationwide partnership between leaders from federal, state, and local governments, the private sector and environmental groups.  

For more information about the West Coast Collaborative, visit: http://www.westcoastcollaborative.org
 
 For more information about Oregon’s Clean Diesel Initiative, visit: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/diesel/index.htm
  
For more information about the National Clean Diesel Campaign, visit: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/diesel/