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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced $9 million in grant funding aimed at reducing diesel emissions from older diesel engines. 

Tribes and US territories are eligible for the grant. A total of $8 million will be made available to federally recognized tribal governments, intertribal consortia, and Alaska Native Villages. Another $1 million will be made available to territories, including government agencies of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

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Legacy diesel engines emit large amounts of chemicals connected to serious public health problems, including asthma, lung disease, and various other cardiac and respiratory diseases, per an EPA statement. Grant funding can help retrofit vehicles or other equipment to run cleaner. More than 73,700 pieces of equipment were replaced or retrofitted to run cleaner during fiscal years 2008 to 2018, the EPA writes. 

Joseph Goffman, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, said the grant would help tribes and territories support public health. 

“Replacing older, more polluting diesel vehicles and equipment with cleaner new alternatives will reduce harmful diesel exhaust in nearby communities while supporting local economies,” Goffman said in a statement. 

Matching funds are not required for eligibility to the program, the EPA noted. The grants are specifically aimed at tribes and territories with more limited resources. 

The grant program, also known as the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), emerged as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The program opened a competitive program for tribes in 2014, and expanded to territories and agencies in 2021.

Nearly 8 million legacy diesel engines are in use in the United States, and emissions from these engines are a significant source of health problems, the EPA writes. The DERA program helps communities clean up their air quality with a particular focus on low-income or marginalized populations. 

Application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov by Friday, December 6, at 11:59 p.m. EST to be considered for funding. Although funding for both Tribes and territories is being announced under this single Notice of Funding Opportunity, the applications for each group will be reviewed separately.

EPA will host several information sessions regarding this funding opportunity. Webinar links and dial-in information for the information sessions can be found on the Tribal and Territory Grants: Diesel Emissions Reduction Act webpage.