Monique Calello, Staunton News Leader
HARRISONBURG – A new million dollar grant partnership is working to address air pollution in the Shenandoah Valley and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Virginia Clean Cities at James Madison University received a $1.84 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to work with UPS on replacing 69 diesel tractor-trailer trucks in the Mid-Atlantic region with trucks that use either cleaner domestically produced compressed natural gas or newer, cleaner diesel engines, according to a release.
The grant is the largest Virginia Clean Cities has received from the EPA since opening an office at JMU in 2009, said Alleyn Harned, executive director of VCC.
The Mid-Atlantic Nitrous Oxide Reduction Program will run for two years. UPS has matched the EPA grant with about $8 million, the release said.
“They’re substantially committed to this project,” said Matt Wade, deputy director of VCC. “The goal is to assist them with this transition to these cleaner and more affordable fuels, thus improving air quality in these highly trafficked interstate and urban areas where they operate.”
The grant will be used to replace trucks operating in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
According to Wade, the project will result in large annual reductions of nitrous oxide (40 tons), particulate matter (200 pounds), hydrocarbons (half a ton), carbon monoxide (two tons) and carbon dioxide (about 5,300 tons).
Additionally, fuel reductions through the more fuel-efficient engines and the use of compressed natural gas will displace 468,000 gallons of diesel.
“Not only are we cleaning the air, we’re using less imported diesel,” Wade said in the release.
“I am thrilled to congratulate Virginia Clean Cities at JMU on this much-deserved funding, which will go toward supporting their work to reduce our Commonwealth’s carbon footprint,” said Sen. Mark Warner. “These funds will help replace diesel trucks with more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly alternatives in an effort to address the climate crisis.”
Sen. Tim Kaine said, “I’m pleased to see this effort to address pollution and invest in clean air. This project will help protect our environment for future generations of Virginians.”