EPA diesel fuel emission reduction grants go to North, South Carolina

The US Environmental Protection Agency presented grants of $295,320 each on Oct. 23 to North Carolina and South Carolina state agencies to establish diesel fuel emission grant programs.

The US Environmental Protection Agency presented grants of $295,320 each on Oct. 23 to North Carolina and South Carolina state agencies to establish diesel fuel emission grant programs.

The funds, which were awarded by EPA's Region 4 in Atlanta as part of the Southeast Diesel Collaborative, went to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resource and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The money was awarded under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and will include a portion matched by each state to bring the total funding to $492,200, EPA said. Diesel emissions are expected to be reduced by more than 100 tons by the end of the useful life of the engines which are affected, it added.

"EPA is proud to recognize the efforts of both North and South Carolina to improve air quality and protect public health. Emissions from diesel engines are a serious public health threat and environmental challenge, as well as a priority for EPA," said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Region 4's regional administrator.

He said that North Carolina has been a leader in innovative air quality funding programs with their State Mobile Source Emission Reduction Grant program and in supporting the clean construction program in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County area. South Carolina has been a regional leader in promoting retrofits under the Clean School Bus USA program and for groundbreaking work with the Port of Charleston in clean diesel. Both states have promoted the use of clean renewable fuels as another emissions reduction strategy, Palmer said.

EPA noted that Congress appropriated $50 million under DERA in 2008, which was allocated for a variety of diesel reduction programs. A portion of this funding was set aside for state programs. North Carolina and South Carolina are two of eight states being awarded in the US Southeast this year. These grants will be used to fund a combination of retrofit technologies including closed crankcase ventilation systems and diesel particulate filters, the federal regulatory agency said.

It said that since 2000, EPA has invested about $5.5 million dollars to reduce diesel emissions in the Southeast, but has been able to leverage more than $200 million dollars in additional investment through state, local and private sector investments. Much of this has been through the Southeast Diesel Collaborative, which has as its goal improving air quality and public health by reducing emissions from existing diesel engines. More information is available online at the group's website at www.southeastdiesel.org.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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