Georgia Counties Apply Stimulus to Lower Diesel Emissions

On Feb. 22, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg joined officials from University of Georgia (UGA) and Athens-Clarke County to recognize a $1.7 million air quality improvement project funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA).

“This project is a prime example of how Recovery Act funding helps communities invest in environmental protection and provide long-term economic benefits for their citizens,” said Meiburg. “This funding will help to bolster the economy and protect public health and the environment by creating green jobs that improve air quality.”

The event included a demonstration of how filters will be installed on buses, garbage trucks, and other diesel engines to reduce the amount of harmful soot particles in the air. The demonstration coincided with a day-long workshop at UGA that will educate city and county officials as well as community members on steps municipalities can take to reduce diesel emissions.

The project will retrofit 239 on-highway diesel vehicles in Athens-Clarke and Washington counties in Georgia. The retrofits will operate on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, providing long-term emission reductions and reducing particulate matter emissions by 6.4 tons. The action is expected to create and/or preserve approximately 32 jobs in an area with 30 percent of the population currently below the poverty level. This project is a collaboration of city, county, private and public schools and community services to educate the citizenry to improve air quality emissions and foster innovative solutions and strategies to make Clarke and Washington counties role models for other communities.

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