Southern California Air Projects Get $26.5 M from Stimulus

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Oct. 1 announced $26.5 million in funding for diesel emission reduction projects in Southern California under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This infusion of money will help the region finance projects to reduce diesel emissions, protecting public health and the environment across the region. Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and other elected officials and state officials joined Jackson at the Port of Long Beach.

"Upgrading hundreds of vehicles and machinery to clean diesel technology will help create and save jobs and reduce the health and environmental costs of dirty diesel emissions. The 16 million residents of the South Coast can breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives," said Jackson. "Putting green innovation, sustainable technology, and clean energy into action at these ports – our gateways to the global economy – will also send a powerful signal to the world that we can ensure our economic strength at the same time we protect our health and our environment."

Pollution from dirty diesel engines remains one of the most significant health risks in California and has resulted in more than 2,000 hospitalizations, as well as more than 50,000 cases of asthma and lower respiratory symptoms each year. Children, the elderly, and community members living near major diesel sources are especially susceptible to air pollution.

These funds are being used to replace, repower and update diesel engines in school buses, heavy-duty trucks, locomotives, construction vehicles, and cargo handling equipment in the Southern California air basin, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.

"I am proud to be here today with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Governor Schwarzenegger to announce these grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These resources will further support innovation, emission reduction and job creation in Los Angeles, specifically at the Port where we've already demonstrated that initiatives to clean the air, like the historic Clean Truck Program, work," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "We need to continue to take every opportunity to remove equipment reliant on dirty diesel. This isn't just about the quality of air, it's about the quality of life for all Angelenos and residents of Southern California so they do not get sick from diesel pollution. This funding will help Los Angeles further its role as a leader in sustainable, clean technology."

Through partnerships with the California Air Resources Board, CalTrans, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles, these clean diesel projects will create jobs, boost local economies, and protect human health and the environment.

The awarded funds will eliminate approximately 26 tons of particulate matter, 453 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 920 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year from over 650 on- and off-road vehicles operating in the South Coast air basin.

Grant funding to the ports will include engine upgrades for more than 140 pieces of equipment, such as harbor craft and cargo handling equipment. The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles are responsible for nearly 40 percent of containerized foods that flow in and out of the United States each year.

The more than $26 million will go to projects throughout the state including:

      South Coast Air Quality Management District $4 million for research on emerging clean heavy-duty truck technologies in Southern California.
      Port of Long Beach $4,008,250 to implement a large-scale diesel emission reduction project involving equipment replacements, engine repowers, and/or engine retrofits for approximately 112 pieces of cargo handling equipment, including rubber-tired gantry cranes, and two harbor craft currently in operation at the port.
      Port of Los Angeles 1,991,750 to replace, repower, and/or retrofit approximately 27 pieces of equipment currently in operation at the port including harbor crafts. The emission reductions achieved from this project will improve air quality and health in the surrounding areas.
      California Air Resources Board (CARB) $8,888,888 to repower a minimum of eight switch yard locomotives that operate in the South Coast Air Basin with new nonroad engines. The affected locomotives are owned and operate in the Southern California region. CARB was also awarded $1,730,000 in April to provide grants to school districts to retrofit school buses, including those that operate in Southern California.
      California Department of Transportation $951,431 to reduce emissions from construction equipment including crawler tractors, excavators, forklifts, graders, rollers, rubber tire loaders, surfacing equipment, sweepers, scrubbers, tractors, loaders, and backhoes.

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