The EPA announced today the availability of up to $5 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from marine and inland water ports located in areas of poor air quality.

“Communities surrounding ports often face serious air quality and other environmental challenges, “ said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, in a prepared statement. “By working with fleet owners to replace or update older equipment with cleaner technologies, we can find collaborative solutions that foster both economic growth and improve public health.”

The EPA said that older diesel engines emit large amounts of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM), and that these pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, and other respiratory ailments. Most of the country’s busiest ports are located near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in neighboring communities are exposed to high levels of diesel emissions. Since most ships and equipment at ports run on diesel engines, clean diesel projects at ports will produce immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits to those living and working in the area.

This is the second grant competition to focus on reducing emissions at ports under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Under this competition, EPA anticipates awarding between two and five assistance agreements. Applicants may request up to $2 million in funding toward eligible projects. Port authorities, governmental or quasi-governmental public agencies that operate ports, and state and local governments with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality are eligible to apply. Community groups, terminal operators, shipping carriers, and other related entities are encouraged to participate through partnerships with eligible applicants. Projects may include drayage trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and cargo handling equipment at marine or inland water ports.  Funding is limited to projects at ports located in areas of poor air quality, as determined by the administrator.