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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2009 Media Releases

July 15, 2009
For More Information Contact:
Scott Holmes, Health Department, 441-8019


Mayor Chris Beutler today said the awarding of a $1 million competitive grant to the City will keep Lincoln's air clean and preserve and create jobs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that is has awarded the funds to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) for the Clean Diesel project. These funds were made available through the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Funding will be used to purchase and install diesel emission reduction equipment on 85 Public Works and Utilities vehicles, 105 Lincoln Public School buses, eight Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) switchyard engines and seven NEBCO cement mixers.

"I want to commend the Health Department for aggressively pursuing these federal stimulus dollars, which will benefit our community's health and environment and our local economy," said Mayor Beutler. "I am especially pleased that the Health Department is working with partners outside of City government to make this a real community project. The Clean Diesel project also fits perfectly with our Cleaner Greener Lincoln Initiative."

"Our air quality staff has field tested the equipment, and it has proven to significantly reduce diesel emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, toxic air pollutants and greenhouses gases," said Health Director Bruce Dart. He said the project will reduce diesel emissions by an estimated 17,000 pounds per year and 206,000 pounds over the lifetime of the vehicles.

Dart said the health benefits of the project will include reduced asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments as well as fewer lost school and work days. The BNSF locomotive switch engines involved in the project primarily operate in two rail yards that are adjacent to lower income neighborhoods. Dart said these areas have higher percentages of young children, older adults and racial and ethnic minorities, groups at the greatest risk from air pollution.

All vehicles and equipment are expected to remain in use for five to 15 years based on average life cycles and available replacement funding and policies. Diesel oxidation catalysts have been in use for up to 20 years and have proven to last for the life of the engine in many cases, especially if low sulfur fuel is used. Ultra low sulfur fuel is the only fuel distributed by local retailers for trucks and buses.

The LLCHD, which has jurisdiction for all of Lancaster County, is responsible for issuing permits under Title V of the Clean Air Act as well as minor and major source construction permits. The Department also performs comprehensive emissions inventories, conducts source inspections and monitors ambient air quality.

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