Maui News

EPA awards national grant to Hawaiʻi for diesel emissions reduction project

December 31, 2021, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated December 28, 4:02 AM
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The State of Hawaiʻi has received a $508,000 grant from the EPA to replace high-polluting diesel buses with all-electric vehicles.

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded more than $14 million in grants, including $508,000 to the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, for projects that reduce diesel emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older, dirtier engines and vehicles.

The Hawaiʻi project will be implemented through a partnership between the Department of Health and the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office. The funds will be combined with $339,213 in Volkswagen mitigation matching funds, and $912,107 in leveraged funds from participating fleets.

“The DERA [Diesel Emissions Reduction Act] grant program helps states like Hawaiʻi target funds towards projects that align with local priorities,” said Martha Guzman, Regional Administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest. “We are excited that Hawaiʻi Department of Health will use this funding to replace three old, high-polluting diesel buses with all-electric vehicles. This project will reduce diesel pollution and benefit communities throughout the state. Reducing diesel use is a central strategy to environmental justice.”

In selecting projects for award, priority was given to projects that:

  • are in areas designated as having poor air quality
  • reduce emissions from ports and other goods movement facilities
  • benefit local communities
  • incorporate local communities in project planning
  • demonstrate an ability to continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended 

Following the passage of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the EPA also will be making significant investments in the health, equity and resilience of American communities.

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EPA will offer $5 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2026 to fund the replacement of dirtier school buses with low- or no-carbon school buses. Each year, $500 million will be available exclusively for electric school buses and $500 million will be available for electric buses and multiple types of cleaner alternative fuel school buses.

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In line with the President’s commitment to Justice40, EPA is actively working to ensure DERA funding, including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, maximizes the benefits directed to underserved communities. 

The DERA Program funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines. Since the start of the DERA program in 2008, EPA has awarded more than $1 billion in grants and rebates to modernize the nation’s diesel fleet and speed the turnover to cleaner on- and off-road heavy-duty trucks and equipment. 

For details on additional nation-wide recipients, funding amounts, and projects: https://www.epa.gov/dera.

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More information on DERA state grants:  https://www.epa.gov/dera/state-allocations.

For more information on the EPA West Coast Collaborative and DERA grant projects: https://westcoastcollaborative.org.

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