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Jul 17, 2023

Grant funding prioritized for areas already overburdened by air pollution

August 2, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, 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.

“Throughout the years, this crucial program to reduce diesel emissions has improved air quality and provided far-reaching public health benefits by reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and saving millions in gallons of fuel,” said Joseph Goffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “Through the DERA program, along with millions in grant funding now available thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are looking forward to supporting more projects that will get more clean vehicles on the road, protecting people’s health and our planet.”

EPA is soliciting applications nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating at goods movements facilities in areas designated as having poor air quality. Applicants may request funding to upgrade or replace older diesel-powered buses, trucks, marine engines, locomotives and nonroad equipment with newer, cleaner technologies. Priority for funding will also be given to projects that engage and benefit the health of local communities already overburdened by air pollution, protect grant funded investments from severe weather events caused by climate change, and applicants that demonstrate their ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.

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.

BackgroundDiesel-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.

More than 73,700 engines, vehicles, or other pieces of equipment were replaced or retrofitted to run cleaner with DERA funds during fiscal years 2008 to 2018, according to the DERA 5th Report to Congress.

The grant funding opportunity is open until Friday, December 1, 2023. For any questions on the application, applicants should email written questions to: [email protected]. For any technical issues with, please contact for assistance at 1-800-518-4726 or [email protected]. More information, including applicant eligibility and regional funding breakdowns, can be found at the DERA website.

WASHINGTONJoseph Goffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.Background