December 14, 2021
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $77 million in grants awarded to projects that reduce diesel emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older, dirtier engines and vehicles in a press release from Nov. 18. More than $53 million was awarded through the 2021 Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) National Grant program, and an additional $24 million was awarded to states through the State DERA grant program.
“Cleaner trucks, buses, boats, and heavy equipment keep local economies thriving while better protecting the health of the people living and working near ports, schools, and along delivery routes,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Combined with $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law going to electric and alternative fuel school buses over the coming months and years, EPA is leading an unprecedented investment in cleaner air for communities across the country.”
EPA awarded 55 national DERA grants covering a wide range of projects to reduce diesel emissions including upgrades to school buses, port equipment, and construction equipment. Nineteen of these awards will support replacing older diesel equipment with zero emission technologies such as transportation refrigeration units, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, refuse trucks, a locomotive, and a port ship-to-shore gantry crane. All 55 projects will reduce diesel pollution and benefit local communities, many of which are facing environmental justice concerns.
In selecting projects for awards, priority was given to projects that:
- are in areas designated as having poor air quality;
- reduce emissions from ports and other goods movement facilities;
- benefit local communities;
- incorporate local communities in project planning; and
- demonstrate an ability to continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.
EPA also awarded $24 million under EPA’s 2021 DERA State Grants program to 49 states and three territories to implement their own diesel emissions reduction programs locally. This program allows states to target funds towards the diesel emissions reduction projects that best align with local priorities.
The DERA Program funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines. Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded over $1 billion in grants and rebates to modernize the nation’s diesel fleet and speed the turnover to cleaner on- and off-road heavy-duty trucks and equipment.
In addition to DERA, following the passage of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA will be making significant investments in the health, equity, and resilience of American communities. EPA will offer a total of $5 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2026 to fund the replacement of dirtier school buses with low- or no-carbon school buses. Each year, $500 million will be available exclusively for electric school buses and $500 million will be available for electric buses and multiple types of cleaner alternative fuel school buses. In line with the President’s commitment to Justice40, EPA is actively working to ensure DERA funding, including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, maximizes the benefits that are directed to underserved communities.