Maine Department of Environmental Protection Receives $1.39 Million Grant From EPA To Fund Clean Diesel Projects

October 15, 2012

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Director of Communications, samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov / (207) 287-5842

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection has been awarded $1.39 million to hire Maine mechanics to replace diesel engines in boats and buses in an effort to reduce transportation emissions and promote cleaner air and energy efficiency.

The grant money from the federal Environmental Protection Agency under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) will go to purchase and install six new diesel marine engines in two tug boats operating in Portland Harbor and the Gulf of Maine and replace four diesel powered school buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) powered school buses operating within the Portland Public School system.

Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks – especially to children – including aggravated asthma and other respiratory symptoms. 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.

“We are grateful for this generous grant from EPA that complements our comprehensive state-led efforts to enhance the quality of our air and make Maine a healthier place to live, work and play,” said Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho.

“Maine DEP continues to lead New England in leveraging DERA funding to reduce emissions from commercial vessels in our working waterfronts, and we are proud to partner with Portland Public Schools, the only district in New England committed to converting to a 90 percent cleaner burning fleet of buses. It’s a win-win-win as these projects save their owners fuel and funds, support jobs in our shipyards and garages, and allow all of us to breathe easier.”

This grant will allow DEP, in partnership with McAllister Towing and Portland Public Schools, to replace six unregulated diesel marine engines with current EPA Tier-3 certified marine diesel engines and replace four older diesel school buses with clean burning compressed natural gas school buses. Combined, the two projects are expected to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 35 tons, 1.7 tons and 254 tons, respectively, in addition to conserving 38,536 gallons of fuel annually. The grant will cover up to 50 percent of the cost of each eligible marine engine and up to 25 percent of the cost of each eligible CNG school bus.

The announcement of Maine’s award is part of nearly $30 million in grant funds being awarded by the EPA nationwide for clean diesel projects in 2012. In New England, a second grant was awarded under this year’s funding competition to the Connecticut Maritime Foundation for a ferry repower project based in New London, CT.

To learn more on Maine’s efforts to reduce transportation emissions, visit http://maine.gov/dep/air/mobile/

For more information on EPA’s National Clean Diesel Program, visit http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/

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