Seattle (KINY) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $1,218,140 in Diesel Emission Reduction Act funding to federally recognized tribes in Alaska to reduce harmful emissions from stationary diesel generators.
The grants fund projects with the Native Village of Deering in northwest Alaska and the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks and surrounding communities.
“The Biden Administration continues to work with Tribal nations across the country to replace or upgrade older, higher polluting diesel engines, making important progress in reducing pollution and advancing environmental justice across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With an unprecedented $5 billion investment in low- and zero-emission school buses from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law coming soon for communities across the country, this is only the beginning.”
Nationally, 12 tribal and insular area assistance agreements totaling $5.4 million are expected to be awarded as part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction program. DERA funds projects to clean up the Nation’s legacy fleet of diesel engines. The projects will replace non-tiered and low-tiered engines with more efficient, higher-tiered engines. Tier 4 is generally the most efficient tier for engines used off-road, and Tier 3 is the most efficient for on-road engines.
“EPA is proud to work with our tribal partners to achieve cleaner air and improve people’s health in their communities,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator, Casey Sixkiller. “Diesel pollution can lead to high rates of asthma and other health conditions, and these projects will make a real difference in the air quality for tribal communities.”
The Native Village of Deering, part of the Northwest Arctic Borough, received $418,140 to replace two stationary diesel engine generators with two new Tier 3 low-emission marine engines. These generators will operate in the Native Village of Deering powerhouse.
Within the Native Village of Deering, the powerhouse operates close to a school, homes, and a health clinic. This poses a health risk to the high number of villagers – including children -- who suffer from chronic respiratory ailments. Replacing the existing engines with far more efficient, low-emission units will dramatically reduce the exposure to harmful emissions and thus the health risks associated with diesel exhaust.
The Tanana Chiefs Conference received $800,000 to replace five non-tiered generators with five newer, more efficient Tier 2 generators. These generator replacements will be installed in the Alaska rural villages of Huslia, Minto, Nulato, Holy Cross, and Shageluk.
The installation of newer, cleaner, appropriately sized generators will decrease fuel consumption, reduce emissions, and lower the cost of power in these villages. The new installations will result in greater reliability and improved efficiency.