EPA Provides $50,000 for Connecticut to Retrofit Diesel Maintenance Vehicles
Release Date: 02/26/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 26, 2009) – EPA funding is being delivered to the Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) to help fund a project that will help improve air quality in the Nutmeg State.
EPA, through the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC) Emissions Reduction Grant Program, is awarding $50,000 to CT DEP to install advanced pollution control technology on state-owned maintenance equipment.
The grant will allow CT DEP to install diesel oxidation catalysts on all thirteen of the heavy-duty diesel engines in the state maintenance fleet, and on up to four pieces of construction equipment. The Conn. environmental agency will also partner with the Conn. Dept. of Transportation to install up to seven diesel particulate filters on air compressors used on highway construction sites around the state. Both types of pollution-cutting equipment are verified by EPA to reduce particulate emissions by approximately 90 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
"Reducing diesel emissions is an effective way to improve air quality and help people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems,” said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “This project will help bring cleaner air to communities in Connecticut, and we applaud CT DEP’s efforts to address diesel pollution and their commitment to lead by example.”
Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks, including aggravating heart or lung disease. People with existing heart or lung disease, such as asthma, older adults, and children are most sensitive to the health effects of fine particles. 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. Lifetime asthma rates in children in Connecticut are estimated to be 13.7 percent.
DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, "DEP will use these funds to lead by example in reducing diesel emissions from state equipment used in construction and maintenance, specifically at our state parks and on our highways. These are exactly the kinds of steps we must take to reduce harmful diesel emissions, improve our air quality and safeguard the health of our residents. These efforts will add to Connecticut's nationally recognized Clean Diesel Program and support our State's progressive programs to address climate change."
Today’s announcement is part of nearly $2 million in grant funds being awarded by the EPA through the 2008 NEDC Emissions Reduction Grant program.
The recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) makes available an additional $300 million nationwide under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (DERA) for grants and loans to help regional, state and local governments, tribal agencies, and non-profit organizations with projects that reduce diesel emissions and create jobs. A Request for Applications will be issued in the coming weeks. ARRA gives preference to projects that can be started and completed expeditiously. Prospective grant applicants should begin preparations now for the upcoming competitions.
NEDC is a partnership of public and private organizations working to improve air quality by taking action to reduce diesel pollution. The NEDC was established in 2005 by Regions 1 and 2 of the U.S. EPA, NESCAUM and the states and territories of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Puerto Rico joined in 2007 and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2008.
For more information:
Northeast Diesel Collaborative (www.northeastdiesel.org)
EPA Diesel in New England information (epa.gov/region1/eco/diesel/index.html)
National EPA Clean Diesel Campaign (epa.gov/otaq/diesel/grantfund.htm)
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