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Sunday, November 27, 2016

MPCA Offers $400,000 in grants to clean up old diesel engines

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) encourages owners of older, heavy-duty diesel engines to apply for new grant funding to upgrade or swap out their dirty old engines for modern ones that pollute far less.

"Old, fully operating garbage trucks, bulldozers or barges may be eligible for funds to upgrade emission controls or repower them with new cleaner engines," said Mark Sulzbach, MPCA's Clean Diesel grants manager. "Diesel owners can save on fuel and maintenance while drastically cutting air pollution," he said.  

For example, using a 2015 grant, Caledonia Haulers of Caledonia, Minn. replaced a diesel truck and saved $6,700 in fuel and maintenance costs in its first nine months of operation.

The grants have cut air pollution from heavy equipment ranging from rock crushers to a paddleboat. This past summer, the grants helped repower three garbage and roll-off trucks, two long-haul beverage trucks, a snowplow and two diesel school buses.  For 2017, the agency has about $400,000 in grant funds available.

Big diesels manufactured before 2007 spew far more than their share of harmful pollution, so upgrading or replacing these engines gives a lot of air-quality bang for the buck.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates every dollar spent on reducing diesel pollution saves 13 dollars in health-care costs. 

The grants require that vehicles to be upgraded are fully operational, and if the engine is replaced, the old engine is permanently disabled so it can't pollute again.  Grant applications must be in by Dec. 22, 2016.  To apply, use the forms at www.pca.state.mn.us/air/diesel-emissions-reduction-act-grants.

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