EPA and Arkansas protect future generations by reducing diesel emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $318,852 to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to reduce diesel emissions by replacing diesel-powered engines with newer engines that meet 2019 EPA emissions standards. Throughout Children’s Health Month, EPA is highlighting many programs and resources that state and local partners can use to protect our nation’s children. This grant was made available under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) State Clean Diesel grant program which allows EPA’s state partners to fund diesel emissions projects in various local communities.

“One of EPA’s most important responsibilities is the protection of children’s health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “We are taking steps to ensure that the air children breathe at home, school and outdoors is clean. This grant demonstrates EPA’s commitment to reduce emissions and improve air quality for future generations.”

Older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants including nitrogen oxide (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which contribute to serious public health problems, including asthma, lung cancer and various other cardiac and respiratory diseases. DERA grants have funded projects that provided immediate health and environmental benefits. From fiscal years 2008 to 2016, EPA has awarded more than $629 million to retrofit or replace more than 67,300 engines in vehicles, vessels, locomotives or other pieces of equipment. EPA estimates that these projects will reduce emissions by 472,700 tons of NOx and 15,490 tons of PM2.5 over the lifetime of the affected engines.

October 1, 2019, marks the beginning of EPA’s Children’s Health Month. In 1995, EPA began to focus explicitly on the unique vulnerabilities and needs of children, including pregnant women, with respect to the air they breathe, the water they drink, and exposures to chemicals in places where they live, learn and play. Clean diesel funding through DERA has supported nearly 25,000 cleaner buses across the country for America’s schoolchildren.