GASP Applauds $2.7 Million in Funding for Alternative Fuel Transportation Projects to Improve Air Qu

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Friday that funding for more than $2.7 million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIGs) had been awarded to 18 cleaner fuel transportation projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants – and many of the recipients are right here in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“These projects will help every single Pennsylvanian breathe cleaner air at school, in their communities, and at their workplaces,” DEP Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh said in a release. “The impact of these grants is not limited to a specific city block or bound by a municipal property line.”

GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell agreed.

“This funding announcement is amazing news,” he said. “We know how dangerous diesel emissions are to human and environmental health. GASP is glad to see that a nearby municipality and some local and regional operators will be the beneficiaries of this funding – and we’re thrilled to know that the majority of funds were allocated to projects either in or serving environmental justice areas.”

In fact, more than two-thirds of this year’s funding will benefit environmental justice communities.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, “environmental justice communities” are defined by DEP as any census tract where 20 percent or more of residents live at or below the federal poverty line, and/or 30 percent or more of the population identifies as a non-white minority. Low income and minorities are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of pollution and focusing resources in these areas is an essential step in mitigating these disproportionate effects.

A little background: The AFIG Program funds projects that replace older gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner fuel vehicles that helps reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas.

The program supports things like electric, ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane gas, and other cleaner fuel vehicles. It also supports the installation of fueling stations for these vehicles. Why is the transition to cleaner fuels important? Consider this:

  1. Transportation generates 47 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone.

  2. Vehicles alone release 21 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the state, a known greenhouse gas and direct contributor to climate change.

  3. This affects the health of children; older people; people with lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema; and those who work or are active outdoors.

  4. The state Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor.

But back to those grants: They are awarded for projects in three categories:

  1. Vehicle Retrofit and/or Purchasing

  2. Refueling Infrastructure

  3. and Innovative Technology

The 2021 AFIG funded projects will:

  1. put 87 cleaner fuel school buses, package delivery trucks, and other vehicles in use,

  2. save an estimated 262,798 gasoline equivalents (GGE) from the atmosphere,

  3. have the potential to displace the equivalent of an additional 220,000 gallons of gasoline (GGE),

  4. collectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 600 metric tons per year

Local governments, schools, businesses, and organizations may apply for AFIG funding. DEP administers the AFIG Program under the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Act of 2004, originally established under Act 166 of 1992. Regional awardees include:

East Washington Borough: $7,500 in AFIG funding for the purchase of one (1) Tesla Model 3 EV for the Borough’s police force. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 789

EVgo Services LLC: $197,042 in AFIG funds for the installation of a 4-unit DC Fast Charger with full public access in Homestead, PA. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 18,214

EVgo Services LLC: $156,000 in AFIG funds for the installation of a 4-unit DC Fast Charger with full public access in Pleasant Hills, PA. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 18,214

Iron Mountain Information Management Services, Inc: $90,000 in AFIG funding for the purchase of 12 electric vans for fleets in Allegheny, Beaver, Chester, Delaware, Erie. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 13,500

Iron Mountain Information Management Services Inc: $42,000 in AFIG funding for the installation of Level 2 chargers at 5 locations in Erie, Allegheny, Beaver, Chester, and Delaware counties. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 1,100

Nuvve of Pennsylvania: $300,000 in AFIG funding for the purchase of ten (10) electric school buses to be used in Washington, Mercer, and Allegheny counties. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 18,462

Thompson Gas LLC: $159,000 in AFIG funding to install two propane autogas refueling infrastructures to fuel LKQ’s retrofitted fleet vehicles at their respective branch locations in York and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions saved per year: 128,304

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