The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control on Monday issued a request for air quality-improvement projects in which to invest $3.4 million from the Environmental Mitigation Trust.
The funding comes from federal redress against the Volkswagen Corp. for violating the Clean Air Act. Use of emissions “defeat devices” on its diesel vehicles increased emissions throughout the country, up to 40 times the Environmental Protection Agency limit, resulting in adverse impacts to air quality, particularly in Delaware, where the transportation sector is the leading source of air pollution, according to DNREC.
Eligible mitigation actions include projects to reduce nitrogen oxides from heavy-duty diesel sources. The $3.4 million covers the fourth and final phase of the settlement and the state’s last disbursement from a total of $9.6 million from the trust since 2019.
Eligible projects include the replacement or repowering of medium- and heavy-duty trucks or school and transit buses. Other possible mitigation actions include engine repower for freight switcher locomotives, ferries, tugs, forklifts and port cargo-handling equipment. Or they may include, in a more limited capacity, charging infrastructure for light-duty zero-emission passenger vehicles.
The funds are expected to be awarded during the second half of 2022. A virtual public meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 15 to help organizations apply for the grants by close of business March 21. Comments and questions, to be considered for DNREC response during the meeting, may be made in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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