Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will disperse up to $604,000 to public and private organizations to reduce diesel emissions in the state. The state agency is accepting applications for the first round of funding through Dec. 30.
The money was made available through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, which Congress approved in 2005. Seventy percent of its funding goes to national competitive grants, while states receive the remaining 30%.
Kelly Robinson, public information officer for ADEQ, said the state has received the funding for 11 years, and it has typically gone to school districts for reducing emissions.
This past year, the funding went to four school districts to replace six school buses and one county to replace a dump truck.
“Diesel engines play an important role in American transportation and construction,” according to a news release. “More powerful and efficient than gasoline engines, they are able to do bigger jobs for a longer time with less fuel. Using less fuel means emitting less carbon dioxide.”
But diesel engines built before 2006 “have dirtier emissions than gasoline engines” and “can seriously affect the health of children, the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses.” These emissions are “linked to thousands of asthma attacks” and “millions of lost work days.” Diesel exhaust is also a likely cause of cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Governmental, private and nonprofit organizations may apply for the DERA funding, according to the release. Eligible projects will reduce diesel emissions in the state using “exhaust controls, engine upgrades, idling reduction technology, engine replacements or vehicle/equipment replacements.”
After the Dec. 30 application deadline, the next deadline to apply for funding will be Jan. 31, followed by deadlines on the last day of each month through April 30 or until all the money is given. For help to apply, email Deiona McKnight at [email protected] or call 501-682-0641.