California granted $3.2 million to reduce diesel emissions

In an effort to reduce harmful diesel emissions in the state of California, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Golden State $3.2 million in funding from the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). The state will use these funds to combat diesel, greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions from major sources of this type of pollution, such as trucks and buses.

The DERA grants will go towards supporting the following organizations' projects:

  • The City of Long Beach Harbor Department received over $1.2 million to replace eight yard diesel tractors with all-electric automated guided vehicles.
  • The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District received $1 million to replace 75 off-road agricultural diesel tractors with new tractors that have cleaner engines.
  • The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District received $642,734 to replace three diesel-powered refuse trucks with certified renewable natural gas-fueled equivalents, and to replace up to six nonroad diesel-powered agricultural tractors with newer, cleaner models.
  • The California Air Resources Board received $415,905 to retrofit 20 school buses with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) throughout California.

These allocations come just one month after a joint investigation between EPA officials and California regulators found that German automaker Volkswagen designed its cars to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

According to the EPA, whenever Volkswagen cars were tested in the lab, they easily met the agency's emission standards. On the road, however, they emitted as much as 40 times the federal limit.

Despite being more durable and fuel efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts, diesel engines account for about one-third of nitrogen oxides emissions and one-quarter of particle pollution emissions from transportation sources nationwide, according to the EPA.

Since 2008, the DERA program has awarded more than 700 grants in 600 communities across the country. So far, these projects have reduced pollution from more than 60,000 engines. This fiscal year, DERA funding is aimed specifically at replacing engines, reducing the effect of idling and using retrofit technologies to bring older engines up to current emissions standards.

"By promoting clean diesel technologies, we can improve air quality, support green jobs, and fight global climate change," said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for EPA's Pacific Southwest Office. "Public-private partnerships like the West Coast Collaborative are leading the way on reducing harmful diesel emissions."

The DERA program is administered by EPA's West Coast Collaborative, a clean air partnership comprised of the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest Regions, which targets its use of both public and private funds to reduce emissions from the most polluting diesel sources.