Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of $115 Million in Grants to Cut Harmful Diesel Engine Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $115 million in grant funding for projects that cut harmful pollution from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding competition, EPA anticipates making 4-10 awards in each of EPA’s ten regions to eligible applicants.

The following entities are eligible to apply:

  1. A regional, state (including the District of Columbia), or local agency, Tribal government (or intertribal consortium) or Alaska Native Village, or port authority, which has jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities, and counties are all generally eligible entities under this assistance agreement program to the extent that they fall within this definition.
  2. A nonprofit organization or institution that:
    •  represents or provides pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets; or
    • has, as its principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

EPA is seeking cost-effective diesel emission reduction projects that maximize health benefits, reduce diesel exposure for those facing poor air quality, and/or employ community-based inclusive and collaborative approaches to reduce harmful emissions. The DERA Program delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities, creating good-paying jobs and driving inclusive economic growth.

The grant funding opportunity is open until Friday, December 1, 2023. For any questions or for more information on the application, visit the DERA website or email written questions to:

Diesel-powered engines move most of the nation’s freight tonnage, and today nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives, and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines. Smog- and soot-forming diesel exhaust can impair air quality, threatening the health of people in nearby communities. Exposure to this pollution can lead to disruptive and costly asthma attacks, illnesses, lost days of school and work, and emergency room visits. These adverse health effects have been shown to disproportionately impact children, older adults, those with heart or lung conditions, and low-income and minority communities.

DERA enables EPA to offer funding to accelerate the upgrade and turnover of legacy diesel fleets. Funding opportunities for diesel reduction projects are provided through an annual appropriation by Congress to DERA. DERA prioritizes funding projects in areas facing the largest air quality issues. Many of these projects fund cleaner engines that operate in low socio-economic areas whose residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart, and lung diseases.

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