6/4/19
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MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce

$15 million in Volkswagen settlement grants available in 26 counties

 Ohio EPA webinars to assist with grant writing

Ohio EPA is announcing that $15 million in Volkswagen settlement grants is now available to assist with replacing or repowering aging diesel fleet vehicles in 26 priority counties where emission reductions are most needed in order to comply with federal ozone standards. Eligible applicants include public and private fleet owners of school and transit buses, medium and heavy-duty trucks, switcher locomotives, tugboats, ferries, and cargo handling equipment in airports and ports.

“This program will help Ohioans enjoy cleaner air and a healthier environment,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “I encourage our school districts and other operators of diesel equipment in the priority counties to learn more about the program and consider applying for these grants.”

Ohio EPA is inviting prospective applicants to participate in webinars on how to apply for the grants. Grant writing informational webinars will be held as follows:

  • Wednesday, June 5, 10:30 a.m. Click here to register.
  • Tuesday, June 11, 10:30 a.m.  Click here to register.

This is the second round of grants following an initial $15 million round of grants Ohio EPA awarded through the program. Overall, the grant program is investing $75 million over 10 years to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution. Funding comes from dollars allocated to Ohio from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. A lawsuit alleged that VW installed defeat devices on certain vehicles (model years 2009-2016). The devices activated during emissions testing made vehicles appear compliant with the law, when in fact, during on-road operation, the vehicles emitted nine to 40 times the allowable amount of nitrogen oxides, a harmful air pollutant. A settlement filed with the federal court allocated funds to states based on the number of vehicles with the illegal devices that were registered in each state.

During his time as Attorney General, DeWine, along with other state attorneys general, worked to ensure that states would receive their share of funding from the settlement. The trust agreement requires each state to develop a plan identifying how funding will be allocated to 10 allowable uses that can reduce NOx emissions and offset damages. Eligible projects include replacement or engine repowers of the following: aging diesel trucks; school/shuttle/transit buses; ferries/tugboats; switcher locomotives; airport ground support equipment; forklifts; and cargo handling equipment in ports. Funds also may be used to install shorepower for ocean-going vessels in Great Lakes ports and charging or fueling units for light duty zero-emission vehicles. Ohio EPA will offer a separate grant opportunity for electric vehicle charging stations beginning in the fall of 2019.

Ohio EPA has posted a copy of the state’s plan for the program on the Office of Environmental Education web page. The 2019 request for grant proposals opened June 3 and closes at 3 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2019.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

 
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