KCMO’s Metropolitan Energy Center Awarded Over $1.4 Million to Reduce Diesel Emissions in Six Regional Cities
LENEXA, KAN. (NOV. 22, 2021) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Nov. 18 that the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) in Kansas City, Missouri, was awarded $1,457,181 from the 2021 Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants program.
This will finance the replacement of 16 diesel, long-haul freight trucks with 16 low-nitrogen oxide, compressed natural gas (CNG) freight trucks. The funding will also allow MEC to conduct a rebate program to replace two to four diesel transit buses or off-road diesel cargo handlers with electric models.
This 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,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “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 goods movement industry uses a large amount of diesel vehicles that still use older, dirtier engines and vehicles,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu. “The Metropolitan Energy Center serves a vital role in the region’s communities by reducing emissions through this project.”
“It is an important part of our mission to reduce truck and bus emissions where people live and go to school. Near-zero emission CNG and zero-emission electrification are the cleanest ways to move freight in our country, and the Metropolitan Energy Center is delighted by this opportunity to keep up momentum for improving our air quality,” said MEC Executive Director Kelly Gilbert. “With this project, we’ll not only add new all-electric yard trucks in distribution yards, but also engage local organizations in direct outreach to environmental justice communities.”
MEC’s project cities include Kansas City, Pittsburg, Salina and Topeka in Kansas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Omaha, Nebraska. Since 2015, MEC has helped clean up freight fleets, school buses, city work trucks, and other diesel-powered vehicles.
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.
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.
In addition to DERA, following the passage of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), EPA will be making significant investments in the health, equity, and resilience of American communities. EPA will offer a total of $5 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2026 to fund the replacement of dirtier school buses with low- or no-carbon school buses. Each year, $500 million will be available exclusively for electric school buses and $500 million will be available for electric buses and multiple types of cleaner, alternative fuel school buses. In line with the president’s commitment to Justice40, EPA is actively working to ensure that DERA funding, including BIL funding, maximizes the benefits that are directed to underserved communities.
Learn more about Clean School Bus Plan under the BIL.
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