Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the roll out of new grant and rebate programs to improve air quality in Pennsylvania funded by the $118 million settlement with Volkswagen Group of America, Pennsylvania’s share of the settlement for allegations of cheating on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests.
The new initiative, Driving PA Forward, is aimed at permanently reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions statewide by as much as 27,700 tons overall by accelerating the replacement of older, polluting diesel engines with cleaner technologies.
Emissions from diesel engines in trucks, buses, forklifts, and other transportation equipment account for over 25 percent of the NOx emissions in Pennsylvania. These emissions contribute to ground-level ozone, leading to poorer air quality and health impacts, especially for children and the elderly.”
Diesel emissions also include fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which can lead to health problems such as asthma and worsen medical issues such as heart and lung disease and emphysema.
“Reducing smog and particle pollution is essential to maintaining healthy communities,” said Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine. “More than 380,000 children in Pennsylvania have asthma – something that is exacerbated by air pollution from diesel emissions. These grants and rebates will cut down on those emissions and help everyone breathe a little easier.”
Eight grant and rebate programs will be available over the next five years, with as much as $39 million available for disbursement in year one. Programs will be rolled out throughout 2018.