EPA Region 2 to Provide $1.1 Million Grant to the University of Puerto Rico to Reduce Air Pollution in San Juan
EPA to Award up to $73 million for Clean Diesel Projects
SAN JUAN, P.R. – This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of the University of Puerto Rico to receive funding for their project to reduce diesel emissions in San Juan, Puerto Rico by replacing short-haul trucks at the Port of San Juan and older school buses. At a press conference in Minnesota on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced over $73 million in grants and funding expected to be awarded to support numerous clean diesel programs and projects across the country at the state and local level. Over $50 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants Program funding is expected to be awarded to implement projects aimed at reducing diesel emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of old, dirty engines and vehicles. Additionally, EPA anticipates providing approximately $23.5 million under DERA’s 2020 State Grants program to 48 states and four territories to implement their own diesel emissions reduction programs.
“EPA is proud to support our partners as they deliver cleaner air benefits to local communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “New diesel engines operate cleaner than older engines, and for each dollar invested in clean diesel projects, communities get $13 in cumulative health benefits.”
“Replacing trucks and school buses with older diesel engines will improve air quality and public health for communities surrounding the Port of San Juan and children in San Juan,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “EPA’s DERA funding to public and private entities allows us to strengthen partnerships and invest in innovative technologies that will benefit the environment, the economy and our most vulnerable populations.”
The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) will receive approximately $1.15 million from EPA. This DERA grant will be used to replace 11 model year 2009 or older short-haul trucks that service the Port of San Juan with newer model year trucks that meet cleaner emissions standards. Truck owners will be offered 50% of the cost to scrap and replace each vehicle up to a maximum of $82,500. UPR will also use the funding to provide 3 school bus owners servicing the San Juan metro area a rebate incentive of 25% of the cost of a model year 2020 or newer replacement school bus up to a maximum of $27,500. The replacement of diesel engines with new, cleaner engines will reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide, providing important public health and air quality benefits.
Under President Trump, the combined emission of criteria pollutants and their precursors dropped 7%. In the past three years, we saw the following drops in emissions of criteria and precursor pollutants:
- Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) ↓ 10%
- Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) ↓ 1%
- Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) ↓ 16%
- Carbon monoxide (CO) ↓ 6%
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) ↓ 3%
Over the last three years during the Trump Administration, EPA will have awarded about $300 million in grants and rebates to modernize the diesel fleet and speed the turnover to cleaner on- and off-road heavy-duty trucks and equipment. Much of this assistance has been provided to help better protect areas of poor air quality and areas of highly concentrated diesel pollution, such as ports and distribution centers.
To support the Administrator’s clean air goals, the agency anticipates awarding these grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. So far in 2020, EPA has finalized awards for 41 clean diesel projects and programs. The agency anticipates completing additional awards throughout the rest of the year.
As these new grants are finalized and awarded, details on recipients, funding amounts, and project types will be listed on the DERA program webpages. For more information, please visit https://www.epa.gov/dera.
EPA provides grants under DERA to protect human health and improve air quality by reducing emissions from diesel engines. The particles in diesel exhaust can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, including increasing the risk of cancer and aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems. In addition, diesel exhaust contributes to already unhealthy levels of smog, which are formed when chemicals released by vehicles, power plants, and industrial boilers react in sunlight.
DERA-funded projects typically include retrofitting or replacing legacy school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and other heavy-duty equipment with new, cleaner technologies.
For more information about EPA's National Clean Diesel campaign and DERA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel