EPA Program to Invest Resources in Underserved, Overburdened Communities Under President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative
August 4, 2022
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of grant funding to Tribal and certain Insular Area governments to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $8 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (DERA) grants to eligible applicants, subject to the availability of funds. The DERA program is prioritizing projects that help achieve the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities. Older diesel engines emit large amounts of NOx and PM2.5, which contribute to serious public health problems, including asthma, lung disease, and various other cardiac and respiratory diseases.
“These grants will lower harmful diesel exhaust in Tribal and Insular Area communities by helping provide fleets with cleaner equipment,” said Joseph Goffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “By downsizing the number of older diesel engines still in service, these grants are an excellent way in which EPA can support Tribal and Regional air quality goals to protect human health.”
A total of $7 million will be made available to Tribal governments, or intertribal consortia, and Alaska Native Villages; and $1 million will be made available to Insular Area governments such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Matching funds are not required for eligibility for the program. These grants are specifically tailored to expand access to diesel emission reduction projects to those Tribal and Insular Areas with more limited resources. The DERA program has worked with Tribes to tailor the Tribal DERA competition to meet their specific needs.
Nearly eight million legacy diesel engines are in use in the United States, and emissions from these engines are a significant source of health problems. Problems that result from these engines include thousands of premature deaths, millions of lost workdays, and numerous other negative health impacts every year. The DERA program prioritizes projects in areas that face the most challenging air quality issues, especially those projects that benefit underserved communities or populations that have faced or are facing environmental health or environmental justice disparities.
Application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov by October 26, 2022 to be considered for funding. Although funding for both Tribes and Insular Areas is being announced under this single Request for Application, the applications will be reviewed separately.
EPA will host several information sessions regarding this funding opportunity. Webinar links and dial-in information for the information sessions can be found at: www.epa.gov/dera/tribal-insulararea.
Funding Opportunity Information Sessions:
- Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
- Thursday, August 25, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
- Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. (ET)
For more information and to access the Request for Applications, visit www.epa.gov/dera/tribal-insulararea. For general information on the DERA Program, visit https://www.epa.gov/dera.
Through separate funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Clean School Bus program rebates are also available. Indian tribes, tribal organizations, or tribally controlled schools responsible for the purchase of school buses or providing school bus service for a Bureau of Indian Affairs funded school can apply for these rebates at https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/school-bus-rebates-clean-school-bus-program#overview by August 19, 2022.