The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Connecticut Maritime Foundation a $800,000 grant to reduce diesel emissions from a New London ferry service.
The grant will be used to purchase and install two new diesel marine engines in the Jessica W, a high-speed ferry operated by Cross Sound Ferry as the Block Island Express. The goal of the grant is to contribute to reducing the level of air pollution in New London County, which the EPA has identified as having high levels of diesel emissions. The organization says the particles in diesel exhaust contribute to health risks and respiratory problems such as asthma.
"Reducing diesel emissions is a proven and effective way to improve air quality. Investing in clean diesel projects in New England will protect people’s health, improve air quality and help our economy by keeping jobs here in our communities," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office, in a statement.
The grant will allow for the replacement of older diesel engines on the Jessica W with EPA Tier-3 certified marine engines. The agency estimates that the new engines will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides by 46.9 tons and particulate matter emissions by half a ton. The grant will cover up to half of the cost of each eligible marine engine repowering project.
“We value the opportunity presented by EPA to begin the process of repowering the Jessica W high-speed passenger ferry through this award," said John P. Wronowski, owner and president of Cross Sound Ferry. "This project will help advance the environmental improvement goals for our fleet of vessels, an effort which began five years ago by deploying new, efficient, low emission engines to improve air quality locally and throughout the region.”
The $800,000 is part of $30 million in grant funds the EPA is awarding in the country for clean diesel projects.