U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld announced $5 million in funding that will pay for cleaner locomotives throughout the San Joaquin Valley, including a state-of-the art locomotive operating between the Port of Stockton and Lodi. EPA and its partners in the valley, the California Air Resources Board and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District made the announcement at the Central California Traction Rail Company in Stockton, Calif.
In addition, approximately $16 million in grants was announced to slash diesel emissions, advance air quality and improve public health throughout the state of California. The San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country, also has some of the nation’s worst air quality and highest rates of asthma. Federal, local and state partners are working to alleviate these problems by channeling significant funds into new clear air technologies.
“EPA’s goal is to reduce the public health impact of diesel emissions from the trucks and trains moving goods through the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This funding will reduce particulate matter emissions by 210 tons statewide for the lifetime of these projects—the equivalent of removing 1,000 heavy-duty trucks off the road.”
The state of the art locomotive unveiled in Stockton uses significantly less fuel than its 1953 model year predecessor and emits 90 percent less particulate matter and 92 percent less nitrogen oxides into the environment. This locomotive also uses a regenerative braking system, in which energy otherwise lost as the train slows down is captured and reused. New technologies such as these significantly cut emissions, while creating new jobs and revitalizing local economies.
"The Air Resources Board is committed to slashing diesel emissions throughout California," said Air Resources Board Member Dorene D'Adamo. "By adopting effective regulations and working with our local and federal partners to bring projects like clean locomotives to the Central Valley, we are making great progress. Our air is quantifiably cleaner than it was back in the last decade, and everyone here today has contributed to that achievement."
These EPA clean diesel grant funds will eliminate approximately 210 tons of particulate matter, 4,500 tons of nitrogen oxides and 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions for the lifetime of these projects.
“The challenges we face in the Valley are unmatched by any other region in the nation, and we highly value our partnership with the EPA in our joint efforts to reach our clean air goals,” said Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer of the San Joaquin Valley Air District. “Achieving zero emission goods movement is a key component of our clean air strategy.”
Pollution from dirty diesel engines remains one of the most significant health risks in California. The California Air Resources Board estimates that approximately 9,000 people in California die prematurely each year as a result of exposure to fine particle pollution like diesel exhaust.
The $21 million in funds will go to new projects throughout the state and existing locomotives in San Joaquin Valley including:
San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: $2,000,000 to repower two older locomotives with newer, cleaner engines.
California Air Resources Board:$14 million to replace 18 older with ultra-low emitting genset locomotives in San Joaquin Valley and Southern California and install a selective catalytic reduction system with a diesel oxidation catalyst capable of meeting Tier 4 emission levels on a line haul locomotive.
Bay Area Air Quality ManagementDistrict: $1,557,987 to replace 43 heavy-duty drayage trucks that operate at ports around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sacramento Air Quality Management District: $1,097,032 to establish a voucher program to replace 200 existing diesel agricultural irrigation pump engines with new electric agricultural pump motors to power agricultural irrigation pumps.
In addition to the funding announcement, EPA today launched its strategic plan for the Valley which suffers from some of the most pressing issues in the region. The EPA prioritizes air and water quality, enforcement of public health standards and environmental justice. EPA will continue to work with the California Air Resources Board and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and will aim to reduce particulate matter 2.5 concentrations by 7% in 2012. To improve water quality, EPA will work closely with other federal agencies to invest in 11 public water systems that need infrastructure improvements and treatment to meet drinking water standards. Under President Obama’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, EPA has also contributed two full-time federal employees to lead a multi-agency team that will partner with the City of Fresno and local stakeholders to implement a redevelopment vision. As part of the strategic plan, EPA is also dedicated to tracking and reducing environmental hazards, recycling pesticide containers and helping to spur dairy digester projects in the Valley. EPA welcomes public comment on the San Joaquin Strategic Plan. The plan will be finalized in the coming months.
Diesel Emission Reduction Act grants are funded through the West Coast Collaborative, a public-private partnership between leaders from federal, state, and local government, the private sector, and environmental groups committed to reduce diesel emissions throughout western North America. The Collaborative has provided more than $97.5 million of grant funds, with an additional $119 million of leveraged money by its partners since 2008. This translates to emission reductions of approximately 1,725 tons of particulate matter and 38,895 tons of nitrogen oxide for the lifetime of these grant projects.
Cleaning up diesel emissions can also have direct near term climate benefits. For more information, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/fedrgstr_activites/BC%20Report%20to%20Congress?OpenDocument  .
More information on these grants and to learn more about the West Coast Collaborative, visit: http://www.westcoastcollaborative.org .
For more information on the National Clean Diesel Campaign, including a list of all grants nation-wide, visit: http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel. 
For information about EPA Region 9 Pacific Southwest’s San Joaquin Valley Strategy, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/strategicplan/sanjoaquin.html. 
Today’s announcement is part of EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld’s two day “Whistle Stop Tour” of San Joaquin Valley. For more information on his overall visit, today’s event and photos, please http://www.epa.gov/region9/mediacenter/sjv-tour/ .