The Clean Diesel Tribal Grant program allocates $2 million from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act for vehicle replacement, including school buses, to improve air quality in tribal jurisdictions, it was announced, as well as the deadline for applications to be submitted.
The Friday announcement said that Native American tribal governments, intertribal consortiums between two or more tribes, and Alaskan native villages, are eligible to apply for up to $800,000 in funding, if they have jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. The U.S Department of the Interior states that there are 573 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives in the U.S.
School buses are among the vehicles (and their engines) that are eligible for replacement under the Clean Diesel Tribal Grant program, in addition to class 5-8 heavy-duty highway vehicles, locomotive engines and marine engines. Vehicles or equipment that are used in construction, cargo handling, agriculture, mining or energy production, are also eligible.
Grant funds may also be used for clean diesel projects that use technologies and equipment that are approved by the EPA and California Air Resources Board. These could include: exhaust control technologies, engine upgrades, certified engine configurations, clean alternative fuel conversions, idle-reduction technologies, aerodynamic technologies and low-rolling-resistance tires.
However, the grant funds cannot be used for fueling infrastructure, federally mandated emissions reduction programs, or emissions testing equipment.
The EPA explained that “priority will be given to projects that are located in areas of poor air quality and areas that receive a disproportionate quantity of air pollution from diesel fleets.” One such example given was school bus depots or garages.
“Despite EPA’s diesel engine and fuel standards for new engines, the eleven million diesel engines already in use continue to emit large amounts of NOx (nitrogen oxide) and PM2.5 (particulate matter), which contribute to serious public health problems, including asthma, lung cancer, and various other cardiac and respiratory diseases,” the agency stated.
Priority will be given to applicants that can demonstrate community benefits, community engagement and partnerships, and project sustainability. The EPA estimated it would award 2-8 cooperative agreements as a result of this program.
Applications are being accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on Sept. 6, and selected applicants should be notified the following month. Funds are planned to be awarded in December.
More information and application forms can be found on the Clean Diesel Tribal Grants website.