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EGLE Clean Diesel Program Grants replace older diesel engines, improve air quality


August 20, 2021

Projects to replace tugboat engines, a forklift that operates adjacent to the Hiawatha National Forest, near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Seney Wildlife Refuge, and older school buses have been chosen for funding under the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy's (EGLE) Clean Diesel Program Grant.

Applicant proposals were rated on criteria that included reductions in nitrous oxides and fine particulate matter, both of which contribute to unhealthy air, greenhouse gases; also rated were the expected lifetime emissions reductions and lowest lifetime costs of emissions reductions.  The four projects chosen total $366,150 and will replace older, highly polluting diesel vehicles with new, more efficient, and cleaner operating diesel and propane vehicles and engines.

"Health, environment, climate, and environmental justice are all affected by diesel emissions," said Elizabeth M. Browne, director of EGLE's Materials Management Division.  The projects will "reduce exposure to harmful exhaust fumes and airborne particles at Michigan ports, near well-known recreation areas, as well as at schools and municipalities."

The following were approved:

  • Luedtke Engineering Company, $165,372.94: tugboat engine replacement.
  • Livonia Public Schools, $73,529: diesel to propane school bus replacement.
  • Hopkins Public Schools and Allegan Public Schools, $72,125: diesel to diesel school bus replacement.
  • Timber Products, $56,124: Caterpillar forklift replacement.

The grants were available through the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, funded by EGLE and the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Diesel Program.  Twelve applicants requested a total of $1,299,831.

Due to EPA regulations, newly built diesel engines are cleaner than ever before; however, millions of older, dirtier engines are still in use.  In the journey toward zero emissions vehicles, there will be a period of transition, where diesel and propane vehicles with cleaner technologies will be part of a bridge toward new technologies. EGLE's Clean Diesel Program will continue to incentivize zero emission vehicles, and next year's RFP will be focused solely on the replacement of diesel-powered vehicles with zero-emission vehicles and engines.

More funding is expected to be announced later this year for vehicle and engine replacements, and information will be posted to the Michigan Clean Diesel website.

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