Everyone deserves clean air, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has never directly offered diesel emission reduction program assistance to tribal (aka Native American) entities before. This is what makes a new announcement from the EPA about a million dollars targeted at reducing emissions from older diesel engines a bit more interesting than usual.

As you can see in a new National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program request for proposals (PDF), tribal communities can now ask for help installing any number of emission control technologies, from cleaner fuels and upgraded engines to low rolling resistance tires to straight-up new vehicles. These cleaner diesel projects can improve a tribe's school buses, energy production generators or marine engines, among other options. The goal is to limit the things that make diesel a bad air creator: nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). As the EPA says, pollutants like those "are linked to serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and premature death."

We've got more information in the press release below or you can go to the EPA's website.
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EPA Announces Funding for Tribes to Clean Up Diesel Engines

June 6, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that grant funding is available for tribal applicants to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from older diesel engines. Diesel engines are extremely efficient, but emit air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). These pollutants are linked to serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and premature death. This is the first time EPA is offering a separate tribal request for proposals for diesel emission reduction program (DERA) funds, and is in response to feedback from tribal communities.

EPA is making $1 million available and anticipates awarding three to five tribal assistance agreements. Projects may include school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, energy production generators, and other diesel engines. Proposals from tribal applicants must be received by August 12, 2014.

This competition is part of the DERA program which funds projects to clean up the legacy fleet of diesel engines. The DERA program aims to achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution reduced and to reduce diesel emissions exposure, particularly for those living and working in areas disproportionately affected by poor air quality.

Since the beginning of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded over 600 grants across the US and reduced more than 250,000 tons of NOx and more than 14,000 tons of PM. EPA has awarded 11 Tribal grants for approximately $3 million. DERA grants have significantly improved air quality and provided critical health benefits by reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and saving millions of gallons of fuel. Many of these grants fund clean diesel projects that operate in economically disadvantaged communities where residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart, and lung disease.

More information on the Tribal Request for Proposals and related documents: www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/prgtribal.htm

More information on the National Clean Diesel campaign: www.epa.gov/cleandiesel

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