HOUSTON, April 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the Port of Houston Authority Thursday to formally announce the Port Authority's award of a second grant aimed at improving air quality in the region. She announced the port will receive a Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant of nearly $900,000.
This newest grant, which will have a match by Richardson Companies and Gulf Winds of $1,680,142, will have a total commitment of more than $2.5 million. The Port Authority's role will be to administer and manage the grant and pass through the funds to the companies.
This DERA grant round was directed toward port projects as part of the clean diesel projects at U.S. ports. The Port Authority partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) for the latest grant application. A total of 25 drayage trucks will replace trucks operating in the Port of Houston (13 for Richardson, 12 for Gulf Winds).
The Port Authority application included support letters from Houston Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), Air Alliance Houston, the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO) and the EDF.
As the nation's largest port in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage, the port and the Houston region continues to demonstrate strong growth. The Port Authority marked a record year in 2014.
"We celebrate that the Port of Houston is growing and thriving, while still reducing pollution," Administrator McCarthy said. "The DERA program is a good investment for both business and the environment."
The Port Authority earlier this year was awarded a DERA grant for almost $900,000 in funding to replace 14 older drayage trucks.
"The announcement of these new EPA grants is very much appreciated as they will certainly help the Port of Houston Authority in its commitment to environmental stewardship and improving air quality in the region," said Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria. "At the Port Authority, balancing business with environmental stewardship is a key priority. We always strive to work in harmony with our communities at large and the environmental community in particular."
The latest funding will provide for new trucks powered by certified engines that are model year 2011 or newer. These drayage trucks operate in the Port of Houston and along the Houston Ship Channel. McCarthy noted the new trucks will be 90 percent cleaner.
The new trucks will also have GPS units to collect data on idling and port operations, which will allow fleet owners and operators to gauge opportunities for additional fuel savings and emissions reduction. These reductions are important to overall air quality in the Houston-Galveston area.
Periodic workshops and events will educate operators and service personnel on proper maintenance and operation of clean diesel and alternative field engines.
All trucks will be replaced with model year 2015 on-road DOT certified terminal tractors. The project will reduce 111 tons NOx, 5.0 tons PM, 5.1 tons HC and 35 tons CO over the lifetime of project.
The grants are funded through DERA and are located in areas where localities need the most help with local air quality.
The EPA reports that since the start of the DERA program in 2008, it has awarded more than 700 grants in 600 communities across the country. And 150 DERA grants have been targeted to improving air quality at or near ports, with about $175 million in funding. The EPA estimates that every $1 in DERA funding generates up to $13 in health care savings. In addition, every dollar of DERA funding in a project leverages $2-3 from project partners.
For more information and learn more about the awarded projects, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/prgnational.htm. For more information on EPA's National Clean Diesel campaign visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.
About the Port of Houston Authority
For more than 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation's largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com
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Source:Port of Houston Authority