WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) today welcomed a $1,841,624 federal grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve air quality in the Baltimore region. The Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) award will support the replacement of several pieces of diesel-powered equipment servicing the Port of Baltimore with modern and more energy efficient equipment.
“Addressing climate change is both an opportunity to boost job growth and prosperity and necessary to root out environmental injustices in Maryland. That’s why we have consistently fought to deliver job-creating investments while focusing on the health of our communities, our environment, and our climate,” the lawmakers said. “This federal grant advances these goals by helping modernize equipment at the Port of Baltimore to improve our air quality. We will keep working in Congress to deliver on our commitment to strengthen our economy and protect public health.”
These federal resources will be used to replace diesel yard trucks, forklifts, and cargo handling equipment with vehicles and equipment that meet EPA’s Tier 4 emission standards and replace three drayage trucks with electric vehicles. The new, cleaner engines and vehicles have advanced emission control technologies that will reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons – all of which contribute to adverse health impacts including asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to this grant, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that the lawmakers fought to enact last year doubled the level of investment in port infrastructure and waterways, providing $17 billion to increase port capacity, strengthen supply chains, and reduce pollution nationwide. Over the past five years, the lawmakers have worked to bring more than $500 million in federal funding to the Port and surrounding region – including for renovations of the Howard Street Tunnel, a new berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal to boost capacity, and a previous emissions reduction project.