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Our Region Must Take Advantage of Funding to Reduce Toxic Diesel Air Pollution

Updated: Feb 22

Whether you live near train tracks, work near a construction site, or are just standing in line for a bus, you are likely exposed to diesel emissions sometime during the day.

Diesel particulate matter is a pervasive “toxic air contaminant” according to the California Air Resources Board, for which there is no safe level of exposure. Diesel particulate matter poses one of the greatest cancer risks from any type of outdoor air pollution in the region.

In addition to causing cancer, diesel emissions are also linked to asthma, heart attacks, strokes, reduced brain function, and diabetes. Children are especially vulnerable as their bodies, including their lungs and brains, are still developing.

The Pittsburgh region has made significant strides in improving air quality, but we continue to be among the cities with the most air pollution in the nation, and diesel emissions are contributing to the problem. In fact, for almost two-thirds of 2015, our region’s air quality was below what EPA considers to be satisfactory.

In addition to being a threat to public health, black carbon, a component of diesel pollution, is a large driver of climate change. Black carbon is a form of particulate matter emitted by diesels (and other sources) that warms the atmosphere by absorbing sunlight and radiating heat into the air.

Thankfully there are many strategies for reducing diesel pollution, including replacing old equipment, retrofitting equipment to meet new emissions standards, using cleaner fuels, and curtailing unnecessary idling.

The many funding programs which are currently available are an opportunity for our region to reduce these harmful emissions. GASP urges eligible groups such as school districts, school bus companies, municipalities, and fleet owners to take advantage of these opportunities.

Funding opportunities:

Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program Eligible diesel vehicles, engines, and equipment may include school buses, Class 5–Class 8 heavy-duty highway vehicles, marine engines, locomotives and nonroad engines, equipment, or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo (including at ports or airports), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps). EPA will host two Information Sessions regarding this Request for Proposals via teleconference/webinar on March 8th and March 10th. EPA will attempt to answer any appropriate questions in these public forums. More information here:

Deadline for applications: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 4 p.m. ET

PA DEP’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program DEP is seeking applications for innovative, advanced fuel and vehicle technology projects resulting in cleaner advanced alternative transportation within this Commonwealth. Approximately $7 million in grants will be available for school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, nonprofit entities, corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships incorporated or registered in the Commonwealth.

Learn more at Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Seminar on March 18th.

Deadline for applications: Friday, April 29, 2016

Build it With Clean Diesel program Grant funded program that provides significant financial assistance to qualified small construction companies that wish to upgrade their equipment and help reduce emissions in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Neville Island Clean Diesel Program Allegheny County is offering financial assistance to companies operating in and around the Neville Island area to upgrade their diesel equipment. Both on-road and off-road equipment is eligible.

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