The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced nearly $11.7 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants to five tribal, public and private partners in the Southland and across the state, which will be combined with matching funds to retrofit and replace old, polluting diesel vehicles and equipment, including school buses, fire engines, heavy-duty trucks, tractors, port and construction equipment.

“By promoting clean diesel technologies, we can improve air quality and human health, advance American innovation and support green jobs,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Reducing exposure to diesel pollution is important for everyone, particularly children, one of our most sensitive populations.”

The South Coast Air Quality Management District was awarded nearly $2.3 million to replace 35 municipal trucks. The grant funds will be combined with $1,575,000 from the California Air Resources Board and $2,625,595 from fleet cost-share.

The Long Beach Harbor Department received $1.5 million to replace three port cranes. The funds will be combined with $5.1 million from Total Terminals International LLC.

The other grants went to the California Air Resources Board, which received $556,361 to replace five diesel school buses with electric, zero-emission buses; the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which received $283,841 to replace two school buses and two backhoes; Blue Lake Rancheria in Humboldt County, which was awarded $78,562 to replace one wildland fire engine; and the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, which received three grants totaling nearly $7 million to replace 103 agricultural tractors, three locomotives and 17 trucks.

The EPA has implemented standards to make diesel engines more than 90% cleaner, but many older diesel engines remain in operation and predate those standards. Older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to health problems that include aggravated asthma and lung damage, according to the EPA.

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