Construction vehicles and equipment are major sources of diesel pollution and unfortunately can pose as serious public health threats since diesel exhaust contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants, carcinogens, and fine particular matter.
In an effort to reduce this harmful air pollution and improve air quality in local areas, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a program which incentivizes replacing or retrofitting older diesel construction engines.
The EPA has set aside $2 million in funding for rebates to help public and private construction owners make this switch.
“Exhaust from diesel construction equipment affects children, senior citizens and others in neighborhoods across the country”, said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “These rebates will help equipment owners protect public health and improve air quality near construction sites while updating their fleets.”
Rebates will be offered as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, also known as DERA. This is the second rebate program offered since Congress reauthorized DERA in 2010 to allow rebates in addition to grants and revolving loans. The rebates will support the program’s effort to replace and update existing diesel vehicles, and will target where people are exposed to unhealthy air.
Since 2008, DERA has awarded more than $500 million to grantees across the country to retrofit, replace, or repower more than 50,000 vehicles. By cutting air pollution and preventing thousands of asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature deaths, these clean diesel projects are projected to generate health benefits worth up to $8.2 billion.
Public and private construction equipment owners in eligible counties that are facing air quality challenges are encouraged to apply for rebates for the replacement or retrofit of construction equipment engines. EPA will accept applications from November 20, 2013, to January 15, 2014 and anticipates awarding the rebates in February 2014.
Construction equipment engines are very durable and can operate for decades. EPA has implemented standards to make diesel engines cleaner, but many older pieces of construction equipment remain in operation and predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). These pollutants are linked to health problems, including asthma, lung and heart disease, and even premature death. Equipment is readily available that can reduce emissions from these engines.
Article appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.