EPA Give States Another $50 Million To Clean Auto Fleet

Last week EPA announced that they will be doling money out to states to replace or upgrade diesel engine vehicles. E&E reports (subscription required):

U.S. EPA announced today that it has committed all $50 million of the grant money that Congress set aside last fiscal year to help state and local governments cut harmful emissions from diesel engines.

The grants will be used to replace or upgrade about 8,000 of the 11 million buses, trucks, locomotives, vessels and machines that do not meet the latest emissions standards for diesel engines, EPA said.

Every state will get a share of this year’s grants. EPA is also giving money to about 50 individual projects, such as a $2.3 million project for the city of Long Beach, Calif., to replace one truck, switch fuels for two boats and retrofit 30 pieces of equipment that are used to move cargo at the city’s harbor. The cities of Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., will each get about $2 million to cut emissions from two of their locomotives.

But the spending doesn’t stop at the $50 million already allocated:

The program would get $30 million under a draft spending bill released last week by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the top members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that writes EPA’s budget. It received $50 million last year, and now, that money has all been doled out.

EPA had given out $470 million between 2008 and 2010 under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which is meant to cut down on some of the largest sources of soot, volatile hydrocarbons and smog-forming nitrogen oxides.

The article cites two California cities that will get a combined $4.3 million to upgrade or replace autos that don’t meet emission standards for diesel engines.

But why can’t California look after itself?

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a department within the California Environmental Protection Agency. Its sole mission is protecting public health by achieving and maintaining healthy air quality. CARB is one of the few standard-setting agencies outside of the federal EPA, mostly because CARB was created even before the EPA was established or the Clean Air Act was law. As has reported, CARB regulations are controversial and often go farther than federal rules.

So why does the federal government need to give money to states to cut down on emissions? States have shown that they possess the capability to solve these problems locally. With a staff of over 1,200 and a budget of $650 million, it appears that CARB has ample resources to work with cities and municipalities to achieve the standards that they set.