Environmental Initiative has received $1.85 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help its Project Green Fleet further reduce diesel pollution in the Twin Cities by replacing or retrofitting older engines on heavy equipment, a locomotive, heavy-duty trucks and a tugboat on the Mississippi River. 

This will remove the pollution reduction equivalent of approximately 30,000 cars from the road annually.

“This will allow us to help businesses upgrade vehicles many years ahead of when normal fleet attrition would occur,” said Bill Droessler, a senior director at Environmental Initiative. It will “spur environmental, economic and health benefits for our region.”

Minnesota’s air quality has improved over the last decade, according to environmental authorities.

“This clean diesel work sets a wonderful example of preventive, beyond-regulation, pollution reduction work accomplished through unique partnerships in many communities,” said Leigh Currie, energy program director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and co-chair of Clean Air Minnesota.

Cross-sector, public-private collaborations – such as Clean Air Minnesota – are key to keeping Minnesota air clean because much of the state’s air pollution comes from less-regulated sources such as vehicles, construction equipment, diesel-powered buses, trains and boats.

“Voluntary private investments being made in air quality work in Minnesota are a win-win-win for the environment, the economy, and regional air quality,” said Tony Kwilas, director of environmental policy for Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of Clean Air Minnesota.

The partners also noted that the investments in replacement technology and engines also spurs innovation and employment, and improved the health of school kids who ride diesel-fueled buses.

Clean Air Minnesota leverages government and private investments to help Minnesotans breathe easy and improve health, including investing more than $12 million over10 years to support Project Green Fleet. 

Since Project Green Fleet’s inception in 2005, its promoters and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, say the pollution equivalent of 750,000-plus vehicles have been removed from state roads by retrofitting 4,600 diesel vehicles, including 3,200 school buses.

More information: www.environmental-initiative.org.

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