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EPA Reducing Air Pollution from Diesel Buses in Puerto Rico; Grant Provides More than $208,000 to the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority

Release Date: 11/13/2014
Contact Information: Brenda Reyes 787-977-5869 or reyes.brenda@epa.gov; Elias Rodriguez 212-637-3664 or rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supporting local efforts to reduce air pollution in the greater metropolitan area of San Juan, Puerto Rico by providing more than $208,000 for the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority to retrofit 17 transit buses with diesel emission reduction devices. The project will cut emissions of harmful fine particles, which are linked to health problems, including asthma, lung and heart disease.

      “By cleaning up older diesel engines that generate air pollution, the EPA is making a visible difference in the San Juan community,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Judith A. Enck. “Replacing or retrofitting old polluting diesel engines reduces air pollution that can lead to asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments and heart disease.”

      The EPA set standards for heavy duty diesel trucks and buses reducing their harmful pollution by 90% starting in model year 2007. However, heavy duty diesel engines last a long time and many old diesel engines are still in use. These old engines produce large amounts of pollutants from tailpipes EPA awards grants to local governments and organizations to help pay for retrofitting or replacing some of the older diesel engines still on the road today in the U.S.

      Asthma is a serious problem in Puerto Rico. More than twice as many Puerto Ricans have asthma than the general population of the United States. Twice as many people die in Puerto Rico due to asthma than in the rest of United States. Asthma rates in Puerto Rico are among the highest in the country. According to the CDC, about one in three children in Puerto Rico have asthma at some point over their lifetime, compared with the national average of about one in ten children. The Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority, a public corporation created by the government of Puerto Rico, will use a $208,464 EPA grant to install filters on 17 of buses that pre-date the new cleaner emissions requirements. These devices will reduce fine particles, one of the serious pollutants emitted by older engines, by about 80%. The project is expected to reduce emissions of these fine particles by more than 10 tons over the life of the buses.

      The area where the cleaner buses will operate within the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority transportation system includes the cities of Bayamon, Carolina, Catano, Guaynabo, Loiza, San Juan, Toa Baja, and Trujillo Alto. On an average day, the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority system carries 15,000 bus passengers.

      For information about EPA’s clean diesel initiatives, visit: http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel and http://www.northeastdiesel.org.

      Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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