Grants awarded to reduce locomotive diesel emission in area

Garden City Telegram

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has been awarded $127,536 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the 2021 Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants program to upgrade seven Cimarron Valley Railroad line-haul locomotives with certified engine upgrade kits.

The upgrade kits will reduce the amount of diesel emissions from the locomotives operating in southwestern Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and the western Oklahoma Panhandle. 

The project will have direct impact in Ford, Grant, Gray, Haskell, Morton, Stanton, and Stevens counties in Kansas; Baca County in Colorado; and Texas and Cimarron counties in Oklahoma.

This Kansas grant award was part of over $77 million awarded to projects that reduce diesel emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older, dirtier engines and vehicles. $53 million was awarded through the 2021 DERA National Grants program, and an additional $24 million was awarded to states through the DERA State Grants program. 

The DERA program funds grants and rebates that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines.

“Cleaner trucks, buses, boats, and heavy equipment keep local economies thriving while better protecting the health of the people living and working near ports, schools, and along delivery routes,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. “Combined with $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law going to electric and alternative fuel school buses over the coming months and years, EPA is leading an unprecedented investment in cleaner air for communities across the country.”

The EPA awarded 55 DERA National Grants covering a wide range of projects to reduce diesel emissions, including upgrades to school buses, port equipment, and construction equipment.  Nineteen of these awards will support replacing older diesel equipment with zero-emission technologies, such as transportation refrigeration units, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, refuse trucks, a locomotive, and a port ship-to-shore gantry crane. All 55 projects will reduce diesel pollution and benefit local communities, many of which are facing environmental justice concerns.

 “The railroad industry is vital to our Midwestern economy,” Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu said. “Diesel emissions reduction is equally vital to the communities who are served by these locomotives to reduce exposure and protect human health and the environment.”

In selecting projects for awards, priority was given to projects that:

-  Are in areas designated as having poor air quality

-  Reduce emissions from ports and other goods movement facilities

-  Benefit local communities

-  Incorporate local communities in project planning

-  Demonstrate an ability to continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended

EPA also awarded $24 million under its 2021 DERA State Grants program to 49 states and three territories to implement their own diesel emissions reduction programs locally. This program allows states to target funds toward the diesel emissions reduction projects that best align with local priorities.

For more information on DERA National Grants, visit: www.epa.gov/dera/national-dera-awarded-grants.

For more information on DERA State Grants, visit: www.epa.gov/dera/state-allocations.