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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2 Million in Grants to Reduce Air Pollution from Diesel Engines

Grants will help to accelerate the retirement of older, less efficient, and more polluting vehicles
For immediate release:
1/11/2022
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2 Million in Grants to Reduce Air Pollution from Diesel Engines

Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs

BOSTONThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced grant awards for projects that will reduce the release of harmful diesel emissions into the atmosphere from vehicles across the Commonwealth and help to accelerate the retirement of older, less efficient, and more polluting vehicles. The program, funded through the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), has awarded 36 grants to 11 communities or private entities, totaling $2,083,873. MassDEP prioritized projects that seek to promote electrification of the state’s transportation network, serve Environmental Justice populations, and drive technological and policy progress. Attention was also given to promoting equitable geographic distribution of the DERA funding across the state.

“Our administration continues to identify and advance projects that better position the state in combating against the impact of climate change with an equitable approach,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The shift to cleaner vehicles will reduce the exposure of our citizens to diesel emissions, improve air quality, and assist us as we work to meet the Commonwealth’s ambitious climate goals.”

“Emissions not only pollute our environment, but also threaten the health of residents across the Commonwealth, so reducing emissions requires an aggressive approach, and these DERA funds will aid us as we shift towards cleaner technologies,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to watching these projects progress further along and ultimately aiding the Commonwealth on its path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Diesel emissions can result in serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses and exacerbate global climate change. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution, while carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas. The Baker-Polito Administration estimates that the cleaner vehicle replacements announced today will result in a reduction of 35.4 short tons of NOx and 1,580 short tons of CO2, as well as an 87 percent reduction on average of PM2.5.

“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to take aggressive action to build a clean, modern transportation system and advance efforts that will help the Commonwealth achieve its ambitious emissions targets,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Working with communities and fleet managers, this funding will help support technology upgrades and switch out existing, polluting vehicles and engines with cleaner replacements.” 

DERA grant funding ranges from 25 to 45 percent of the vehicle replacement costs, depending on how much the project will reduce NOx and other emissions. Some selected projects will replace existing diesel vehicles with all-electric vehicles, which qualify for the highest percentage of funding. Under this program, 89 percent of the funding is in Environmental Justice areas where there are high populations of minority, low-income, and low-English-proficiency residents, and 41 percent of the funding is going to electrification projects.

“Historically, diesel emissions have disproportionally affected Environmental Justice communities, an inequity that we have vowed to address as an agency,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “This funding and the emission reductions that will result from these upgrades, represent another step being taken to achieve better air quality for all and quality-of-life improvements for every resident in the Commonwealth.”

The following communities and private entities have been awarded DERA funding:

  • City of Boston – $350,000: Twelve propane-powered school buses, based in the Dorchester bus yard.
  • City of Newton – $81,250: One front-end loader.
  • Estes Express Lines – $193,416: Eight Class 8 short-haul tractor trailers, based in Avon, Billerica, and Shrewsbury.
  • F&G, LLC – $123,883: One electric terminal tractor, based in Wilbraham.
  • First Student, Inc. – $740,324: Five electric school buses, based in Springfield.
  • George Propane, Inc. – $44,213: One Class 7 cab and chassis with a propane cargo tank, based in Goshen.
  • Town of Grafton – $60,205: One Class 8 short-haul tractor trailer.
  • Town of Winchendon – $43,934: One front-end loader.
  • Winchendon Fire Department – $175,904: One Class 8 fire apparatus.
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst – $70,583: One Class 6 utility line truck and one Class 7 dump truck with snowplow.
  • USA Waste and Recycling, Inc. – $200,158: Three Class 8 refuse haulers, based in West Hatfield.

“The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant program is yet another tool Massachusetts uses to confront climate change,” said State Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “It is important that local companies like Estes Express Lines appreciate the impact of diesel emissions on the environment, and I applaud them for applying and receiving this grant to reduce harmful emissions from their fleet.”

“Taking action against climate change is essential for the overall well-being of the Commonwealth and the entire nation,” said State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “Important programs and services, such as this one, will allow us to reduce the amount of harmful emissions produced, which reaffirms our commitment towards protecting our environment and the health and safety of all residents across the state.”

“I was excited to hear that the Town of Grafton was chosen as a recipient of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant program,” said State Representative David Muradian (R-Grafton). “These funds will continue to protect our residents and help the town make positive strides toward a greener tomorrow.”

For more information on the DERA grant program, please click here.

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives, and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2 Million in Grants to Reduce Air Pollution from Diesel Engines

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 

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