WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today announced the award of more than $1.84 million in federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funding for the Maryland Port Authority through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This grant, which will come through the Maryland Environmental Services, will help to replace up to four pieces of cargo handling equipment with up-to-date engines and at least 44 drayage trucks with new engines. These changes will improve regional air quality and curtail carbon emissions, bringing Maryland closer to meeting its statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals.
“Reducing emissions of CO2 and other pollutants is critical for the health of our people and of our climate,” said Senator Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “The Port of Baltimore continues to play a large role in our state’s economy. These important funds will help to reconcile our desire for thriving commerce with our need for a clean environment.”
“Maryland’s ports are central to our state’s economic growth and strength. But as we expand on this potential, we must address the environmental impact of these efforts,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Environment and Public Works and Appropriations Committees. “This funding will help ensure that our ports can continue to thrive – while preventing harmful environmental impacts.”
Older diesel engines emit pollutants that harm public health by contributing to asthma, lung cancer, and other cardiac and respiratory diseases. In Baltimore, the pediatric asthma rate is more than twice the national average, affecting one out of every five individuals under 18 years of age. Rates of adult asthma also exceed national averages. Additionally, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from transportation contribute to climate change.
This money represents a significant portion of the $5.66 million total awarded this year through DERA to reduce emissions from polluting diesel engines in the Mid-Atlantic region. The funds are authorized by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (PL 109-85).