Gulf Coast Ports and Texas Freight Facilities…Here’s an Opportunity for You!


Drayage truck projects can qualify for grants worth up to 50 percent of their cost.

A green supply chain is great for business and the environment, but it’s not every day organizations get an opportunity for help moving their sustainability goals forward. So it was terrific news when EPA last week announced a new opportunity for funding to reduce diesel emissions pollution. Goods movement projects, such as those involving freight and port operations, will be given priority for the more than $13 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding. As the deadline for applications is June 15, it’s important to get to work now.

Since EDF has partnered on a variety of projects in the past to bring these federal funds to Texas to help us meet our air quality challenges, we’ve prepared a DERA 101 primer with suggestions to consider for entities considering the opportunity.

DERA 101: Partners, Projects, and the Proposal

  1. Partners are a keystone of EPA’s approach to clean diesel funding projects. The program has strict requirements for the “eligible entities” that can submit an application, but strongly encourages partnerships between the applicant and fleets (public and private) who can work with the applicant to include their diesel emission projects in the grant applications. Community engagement and other partnerships are also very important to include in projects. They help ensure that public health benefits are realized and provide a way to develop meaningful relationships that extend beyond the project.
  2. Projects are limited to specific types of projects that directly reduce diesel emissions from eligible diesel vehicles and equipment. Depending on the project type, EPA will fund up to a maximum percentage of the cost (ranges from 25 to 100 percent). Replacement projects require that an old vehicle or equipment that would have continued to operate be scrapped (the emission reductions result from retiring the older, dirtier machine and replacing it with a cleaner machine). In some cases, such as with nonroad equipment, EPA has stipulated that the old piece of equipment must have a specific number of years of useful life remaining, so it is important to check Appendix E of the request for proposals for eligibility. Finally, EPA cannot fund projects that are mandated by federal regulations (e.g., some locomotive, marine, and stationary engine projects).
  3. Proposals should follow the template provided by EPA. It’s critical when writing a grant proposal to make it as easy as possible for the grant reviewer to find the information they need to assess the merits of the proposed project. EPA provides a helpful scoring rubric to help with proposal writing to ensure that applications address specific elements (this helps writers try to maximize their scores). Always read the full request for proposals to make sure all requirements are addressed (prior to the deadline of the proposal, since you may find you need to register beforehand to submit your application electronically). Finally, EPA has provided a number of helpful resources, including a Frequently Asked Questions document that will be updated periodically, a sample narrative, and informational webinars.

EDF encourages organizations to take advantage of this funding opportunity. In particular, we’d like to challenge Gulf Coast ports and the Texas freight sector to continue the good work that has been accomplished for clean air. Let us know if we can help!



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