Wednesday, June 20, 2018

EPA awards grant to University of Puerto Rico to replace, upgrade trucks

By on February 22, 2018

SAN JUAN – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant totaling $991,253 to the University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus to curb pollution from trucks in San Juan.

The grant is specifically directed to replace old heavy-duty, short-haul trucks with 2012 or newer models and to retrofit heavy-duty diesel trucks owned by local private and independent transportation companies in the San Juan Port area.

The replacement and retrofit of diesel trucks will reduce harmful diesel emissions, providing public health and air quality benefits. Exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses and can worsen existing heart and lung disease, especially in children and the elderly.

The investment is expected to “reduce about 203 tons of nitrogen oxides and about 12 tons of fine particles.”

“Clean diesel technologies not only improve air quality in Puerto Rico, but advance innovation and support jobs,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says in the agency’s release. “I am pleased that we are awarding this grant to help reduce harmful emissions that will directly benefit the residents of the Commonwealth.”

“This grant program is a perfect example of how EPA’s grants incentivize public and private entities alike to invest in innovative technology that not only produces environmental benefits but also boosts business,” EPA Regional Administrator Pete López adds. “As we strengthen our partnerships, EPA will continue to work toward reducing harmful air pollutants and improving air quality in the San Juan Port area.”

Port of San Juan, Puerto RicPhoto courtesy of the U.S. Army

Dr. Aluisio Pimenta, professor, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus (Photo courtesy of the University of Puerto Rico)

“Diesel emissions reduction initiatives are very important to improve public health in Puerto Rico, given the dependence on diesel engine trucks for the movement of all goods brought in and commercialized in the island,” said Dr. Aluisio Pimenta, Professor at the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. “Puerto Rico has the highest asthma rate among all states and territories in the United States.”

For more information about EPA’s National Clean Diesel campaign and DERA program, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

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