The 12,500-ton reduction in particulate matter attributed to the program suggests big black carbon reductions as well. Overall black carbon emissions are on pace to be reduced 80 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, according the EPA.
Upgrades to diesel engines include pollution-control technologies such as catalysts and particulate filters. Schaeffer pointed to Cummins, Inc., Caterpillar and John Deere as some leading manufacturers that have been developing cleaner, more efficient diesel engines.
But he said it’s the “farmers, small business owners and communities,” that have benefited from the program.
“Many projects have focused on school buses due to the importance of cleaner transportation for children and communities. In addition, the program targeted long-haul trucks, assisting fleets with fuel-saving technologies, and lowering emissions,” the EPA report says.
The new report comes on the heels of President Obama’s 2014 proposed budget, which would slash the program’s funding from $20 million in fiscal year 2013 to $6 million. Funding already was cut from $50 million in fiscal year 2011 to $30 million in fiscal year 2012.
For every federal dollar put into the diesel program from 2008-2010, about $3 was invested by non-profits, state and local governments and private industry, according to the EPA report.
The proposed cuts are “not a very smart strategic move,” Schaeffer said. “The President just announced clean air particulate standards, and will be announcing ozone standards soon, so there will be many more communities that would naturally turn to a program like this to help reduce their emissions.”
Bailey said the program is “one of the few areas where we’ve been hand-in-hand with the diesel industry.”
“The diesel industry has come a long way,” Bailey said. “It would be really disappointing to see the program funding slashed when it’s been so successful on all accounts.”
This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.