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Hawaii Awarded Grant Money to Reduce Diesel Emissions

October 28, 2019, 9:10 AM HST
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday announced the award of $14,304,998 in Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grants to public and private partners across Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific island territories.

The funds will be used to retrofit and replace old, polluting diesel vehicles and equipment, including school buses, heavy-duty trucks, tractors, port and construction equipment.

Hawai‘i Department of Health received $474,474 to help with partner vehicle replacements. Honolulu City and County Board of Water Supply will replace one truck; the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation will replace one road zipper; and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Offices will replace two buses.

These funds will be combined with $316,494 in Volkswagen Mitigation Settlement funds and $2,511,239 in fleet cost-share.

“By promoting clean diesel technologies, we can improve air quality and human health, advance American innovation and support green jobs,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Reducing exposure to diesel pollution is important for everyone, particularly children, one of our most sensitive populations.”

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From 2008 to 2016, EPA has awarded $629 million nationally to retrofit or replace 67,300 engines and equipment from port, airport, transit and school bus, rail, long and short haul truck, drayage truck, marine vessel, agriculture, construction, and other fleets. More than 454 million gallons of fuel have been saved as a result of DERA projects. EPA estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA include 15,490 tons of particulate matter and 472,700 tons of nitrogen oxides. These reductions have created up to $19 billion of health benefits.

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Throughout October, EPA is celebrating Children’s Health Month and highlighting many programs and resources that tribes, states, territories and local partners can use to protect our nation’s children. This fiscal year (Oct. 2018 – Sept. 30 2019), EPA awarded more than $9 million in DERA funding for rebates to replace older diesel school buses with newer, cleaner vehicles.

These efforts in the western United States are part of the West Coast Collaborative, which leverages public and private funds and partnerships to reduce emissions from the most polluting diesel sources. The vehicle and equipment upgrades will cut emissions of fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide.

EPA has implemented standards to make diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel engines remain in operation and predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These pollutants are linked to health problems, including aggravated asthma, lung damage, and other serious health problems.

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DERA grants have supported nearly 25,000 cleaner buses across the country for America’s schoolchildren. School buses travel over 4 billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

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