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August 17, 2019   |   The Waterways Journal Weekly


Diesel Emissions Reduction Act And Clean Diesel Grants Program Aid Ports

In July, the Environmental Protection Agency released its fourth report on the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program. Originally authorized in 2005 and reauthorized with unanimous bipartisan support in 2010, the DERA program, also known as Clean Diesel grants, has funded the replacement of older diesel engines with cleaner Tier III and Tier IV engines.

The inland marine segment of DERA grants is small compared to others. Grants are typically spread out around the country. A search of the Clean Diesel database for “marine” shows 77 entries out of 535 DERA grants awarded for a period from 2008 through 2018.

The July report says, “Since 2008, fleets at marine and inland water ports have been a priority for DERA funding with $93 million ($38 million from ARRA [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or “stimulus bill”] going to port projects from 2008-2013.” (The word “fleets” here refers mostly to trucks.)

Many of those port grants replaced older trucks at water ports, but some went to replace cranes, like the electric crane DERA helped fund at the Port of Los Angeles in 2014. After a 2016 report, EPA launched a Ports Initiative to address air quality issues at and near ports.

The July report notes that since the program was launched in 2008, “the public health impact of diesel engine emissions has received significantly more attention.” It also notes that several states have since launched other funds to finance diesel engine replacements.

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