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Locomotive repower projects garner DERA grants from EPA

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it's awarding $30 million in grants for 23 clean-diesel projects through the Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA), which helps fund projects designed to replace, retrofit or repower older diesel-powered engines in locomotives, marine vessels, trucks or buses.

Older diesel engines that predate newer, cleaner federal emission standards emit large amounts of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, that are linked to health problems, including asthma, lung and heart disease, and premature death, according to the EPA. The clean diesel projects funded through DERA — which was enacted in 2005 — will work to address the more than 11 million older diesel engines that continue to emit higher levels of pollution, EPA officials said in a prepared statement.

Among the rail-related DERA grants, the Alabama State Ports Authority will receive $1.35 million to repower two locomotives; Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will receive $1.2 million to repower two locomotives to Tier 3 engine emission standards; and the Sacramento Air Quality Management District will receive $700,000 to repower one line-haul locomotive.

The marine-related grants include $1.34 million to the Port of Long Beach, Calif., to replace five yard tractors and retrofit 11 rubber-tired gantry cranes with diesel particulate filters.

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