EPA Awards 1.8 Million To Help Clean Up Pollution In Houston

I am pleased to announce that the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) and the Port of Houston Authority were selected to receive grants for $991,041 and $943,413, respectively, from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) to aid in diesel emissions reductions. HGAC and the Port of Houston are two of the four organizations in EPA region 6 to receive grants; together, these organizations will receive $3.1 million to reduce emissions and clean up our air. The other awardees in region 6 are the Railroad Research Foundation and the Leonardo Academy.

Credit- Port of Houston Authority

HGAC will use the grant to repower three marine vessels operating in the Houston-Galveston and Corpus Christi areas. Additionally, seven engines on tug boats and harbor crafts will be repowered with new, cleaner engine technology. The Port of Houston Authority has partnered with CMA CGM to use the funds to offset the costs of burning cleaner fuel when the ships are close to shore.

EDF is proud to have played an important role in helping the Houston region obtain this funding, and we applaud the efforts of our regional partners in making the effort to improve our economy, our health, and our environment.  Each year, diesel engines emit 7.3 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 333,000 tons of soot. This pollution is linked to thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and millions of lost work days. Efforts such as these help Houston be a better place to live.

You can see a full list of awardees here.

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2 Comments

  1. Michael
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    As an asthmatic, I'm glad to hear about this. As a merchant mariner however, I have questions. You say:

    "The Port of Houston Authority has partnered with Maersk to use the funds to offset the costs of burning cleaner fuel when the ships are close to shore."

    This is a step in the right direction, but it appears to be a very finite plan. With the price of diesel (that is what the Maersk ships will be burning as the cleaner option to their heavy fuel) being as high as it is, the funds will be exhausted in relatively short order. I have just recently moved to Houston, so I haven't followed the Port's efforts on this front, but hopefully they are considering a plan similar to what California has established. I ran my ship in and out of CA ports for four or five years, and the practice there is for vessels to run on only diesel when within 25 miles of port. I haven't been there since 2008, but at the time I do not believe that practice was mandated by law, but apparently sufficient incentives were in place.

  2. Elena Craft
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    Yes – good point that you make. The North American coastline was recently designated as an emission control area (ECA) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This means that all ships will have to burn lower sulfur fuel (1000 ppm) when they are within a certain distance from the coast starting in 2015. The money awarded to the Port of Houston Authority for the Maersk ship will help transition to the cleaner fuel in advance of the ECA standards taking effect. We will benefit from cleaner air faster this way! You can find out more about the ECA here: http://www.epa.gov/nonroad/marine/ci/420f10015.htm

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