Environmental Observer
The Associated General Contractors of America | Quality People. Quality Projects.
www.agc.orgJune 1, 2009 / Issue No. 4-09
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On the Inside
Air
AGC Chapters Ask EPA for $30 Million to Clean Up Diesel Engines Nationwide
Climate Change Legislation Advances in the House
EPA Invites AGC of America to Speak on Diesel Retrofit at Southeast Regional Program
Waste
Prepare Now to Meet EPA's Training and Certification Requirements for Lead-Based Paint Work
Green
House Approves Legislation to Modernize and Green America's Schools
AGC Hosts Building Design and Construction Industry Meeting on Climate Change
Air
AGC Chapters Ask EPA for $30 Million to Clean Up Diesel Engines Nationwide
Industry Would Voluntarily Contribute Additional $20M to Support Retrofit Effort
 

In an unprecedented nationwide effort to reduce emissions from construction equipment, 15 AGC Chapters have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for more than $31 million in grant funding to clean up approximately 1,000 diesel machines that are currently in use on AGC-members' jobsites.  These AGC Chapters - representing 9 out of 10 EPA Regions - have leveraged an additional $20 million plus in matching funds and "in-kind" contributions by pulling together an impressive array of project partners.  The current grant competition is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.  If AGC's collective effort is fully funded, it would create and/or preserve more than 1,000 jobs.

Latest reports indicate that this will be an extremely fierce competition and grant requests far exceed the funding that is currently available.  Specifically, EPA will award approximately $156 million in ARRA funding via its National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program (a competitive grant program) to "eligible entities" like AGC Chapters to help construction companies and other diesel users reduce emissions from their fleets, as well as to promote economic recovery and preserve/create jobs.  AGC recently signed on to a letter urging the President and U.S. Congress to fully fund the 2010 national diesel grant competition at $200 million. 

Diesel grant applications were due to EPA on April 28.  EPA is currently reviewing project proposals and will announce "winners" over the next 30 days.  The grant money must be used to carry out "clean diesel" projects during the June 2009 to September 30, 2010 timeframe.  Under the current grant announcement, EPA's funding will pay up to a certain percentage of the cost to purchase/install diesel emission reduction solutions on "diesels" including medium and heavy-duty trucks and off-road construction equipment -- 100% for verified retrofit technologies (emission filters/catalysts), idle reduction technologies and certified or verified engine upgrades (kits only); 75% for engine repowers (newer engine); and 25% for all vehicle or equipment replacements.  EPA grants cannot fund the cost of emission reductions currently mandated under federal, state or local law. 

Private construction companies cannot apply (on their own) for an EPA diesel retrofit grant.  Interested AGC members are encouraged to contact their local AGC Chapters to discuss future opportunities to apply for federal funding.

Partnerships and Support

Dozens of AGC member companies worked in partnership with their local AGC Chapters to prepare "clean diesel" project proposals in advance of the April 28 deadline.  The Chapters' grant applications explain how they would use federal monies to help their members implement diesel emission reduction strategies. 

It appears that AGC of America and its Chapters did much more than any other construction association to persuade federal EPA to allocate available retrofit funds to off-road construction equipment (e.g., organized an EPA presentation at AGC's Convention, hosted an informational audio conference and Webinar, provided answers to frequently asked questions and generally prepared AGC Chapters to participate in the competitive grant process).  AGC continues to hope that those efforts will prove to be successful. 

National AGC and its Chapters are grateful for the assistance that the equipment dealers and engine/equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar, John Deere and Cummins provided for this effort -- and particularly the assistance that Caterpillar Emissions Solutions provided in making an outside consultant available to review AGC Chapter applications.

Future Opportunities

EPA followed an "expedited competition schedule" (to comply with ARRA requirements), and grant applicants had only 40-days to complete and submit full application packages.  This extremely tight timeline, coupled with the comprehensive application requirements, prevented many interested AGC Chapters from participating in the current grant competition.  National AGC expects additional Chapters to compete for federal diesel retrofit funds in the near future. EPA will hold another grant competition in August 2009 (EPA fiscal year 2009 appropriations), although it will be for much less money - around $60M.  Also, there will be another opportunity to apply for funding in 2010.

In addition to the 15 AGC Chapters that are competing in the current EPA diesel grant competition (see list below), more than 20 additional AGC Chapters participated in AGC's audio conference and Webinar to learn more about EPA's competitive grant process and diesel retrofit, in general.   AGC members who are interested pursuing federal funds to clean up their older diesel equipment should contact their local Chapters to discuss partnership opportunities, as well as their local equipment dealers to begin assessing their fleets to determine what machines can potentially be cleaned up.

For more information, please contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org or (703) 837-5332.

AGC Chapters Competing in Current EPA Diesel Grant Competition
  1. AGC of California Inc
  2. AGC of East Tennessee Inc
  3. AGC of Greater Milwaukee Inc
  4. AGC of Kentucky Inc
  5. AGC of New Hampshire
  6. AGC of New Jersey "Partnership"
  7. AGC of New York State
  8. Associated Contractors of New Mexico
  9. Associated General Contractors New Mexico Building Branch
  10. Association of Oklahoma General Contractors
  11. Colorado Contractors Association
  12. Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania
  13. Inland Northwest Chapter-AGC
  14. Las Vegas Chapter AGC
  15. Louisiana Associated General Contractors
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