Douglas pushes clean air initiatives for wood burners, school buses, diesel engines

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas highlighted three clean air initiatives at his weekly press conference. The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) is undertaking an Outdoor Wood-Fire Boiler (OWB) change out program, a Diesel School Bus Replacement Project and a demonstration project to upgrade diesel engines at sawmills.“I am proud of the actions we have taken in recent years to improve air quality and protect our environment,” said Governor Douglas. “Although we have among the cleanest air in the nation, we can always do more to reduce emissions. These three initiatives do just that and build on Vermonters long-standing commitment.”In 2007, Vermont became the first state to adopt a particulate emission standard for new OWBs. In 2009, Vermont adopted a more stringent “Phase II” particulate emission standard for new OWBs that will become effective on March 31, 2010. However, older OWBs are not subject to Vermont’s emission standards and are more likely to pose smoke nuisance and health threats for neighbors. OWBs that meet Vermont’s “Phase II” emission limit reduce pollution by 90 percent from older OWBs not subject to Vermont’s emission standards.To reduce the pollution and health threats associated with older OWBs, ANR is instituting a change-out program that will provide financial incentives to encourage the replacement of older OWBs with cleaner, more efficient OWBs. ANR is planning at this point to use $360,000 of monies from an environmental settlement agreement with the American Electric Power Company to replace 60 to75 older units based on age and nuisance potential. The Agency will evaluate the success of the change-out program and determine the need for further implementation.The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Air Pollution Control Division is conducting a project that will help to upgrade Vermont’s public school bus fleet by providing financial and technical assistance to school districts for accelerating the replacement of older buses with new buses equipped with state-of-the-art emissions control systems and idling reduction technology. To date, 27 school districts applied to participate in the program, and replacement of 37 buses has been approved.School districts are receiving cost-matching grants and technical assistance for purchasing new replacement school buses that will emit up to 90 percent fewer emissions and will have virtually no need to idle. Grant agreements have been developed with school districts to provide reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the cost of new buses. Funding for this project comes from up to $1.48 million from federal stimulus money provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. APCD is also providing on-going technical assistance to school districts throughout the process of identifying candidate buses for replacement, developing specifications for new buses, and disposing of replaced buses.Finally, Air Pollution Control Division, with assistance from the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, is conducting a demonstration project involving sawmill operations that utilize stationary diesel engines. The demonstration project will provide financial and technical assistance to Vermont sawmills in repowering equipment with lower-emitting stationary diesel engines and help to evaluate this sector as a potential target for future efforts to reduce diesel emissions.This project will involve the removal of existing engines and their replacement with new engines certified to a more stringent set of emissions standards. Grant agreements will be developed in cooperation with sawmill owners to provide reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the cost. APCD is planning to use up to $160,000 of monies from an environmental settlement agreement with the American Electric Power Company. APCD will also provide technical assistance to sawmill owners throughout the process of selecting, developing specifications for, purchasing, and installing new engines as well as disposing of existing engines.“I encourage Vermonters to look into and take advantage of these new programs,” added the Governor.Source: Governor’s office. ###last_img

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