SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA to help award part of $50 million EPA grant

| 9/24/2008

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will be offering special financing for APUs, made possible by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the agency’s $50 million Diesel Emission Reduction Program.

The EPA announced the first $3.4 million in funding today for clean diesel projects under the Diesel Emission Reduction Program. Of that, OOIDA will be administering $1.13 million. To read the EPA’s press release on the program, click here.

“We’re very pleased that we were selected to administer these funds,” said Tom Weakley, director of operations for the OOIDA Foundation. “This will create many opportunities for owner-operators to get APUs.”

The funding to be administered by OOIDA will be used to reimburse drivers for 40 percent of the cost of APU purchases through the OOIDA Equipment Finance Department. Truck owners will be required to submit data from their truck’s engine control module to show emissions data, and document emissions reduction.

“It’s not simply free money,” Weakley said.

EPA officials have said they hope that the 2007 and 2010 diesel engine emissions standards, combined with the $50 million grant program to reduce emissions from trucks already on the road, will “significantly reduce emissions.”

“This fall, EPA is paving the way for clean diesel progress,” said EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. “These grants encourage technologies that will help truckers save over $72 million in fuel costs per year and lower their environmental impacts.”

Other groups receiving grant money are Community Development Transportation Lending Services of Washington, DC, and Cascade Sierra Solutions of Oregon.

Staff at OOIDA is working with the EPA to organize the program’s implementation, Weakley said. More information will be available by late fall.

“We are well aware of the many health problems facing truckers today that may indeed be exacerbated by exposure to high doses of diesel exhaust,” Weakley said. “This grant will help us to help the small-business owners lower their exposure and meet the growing number of anti-idling regulations. The cost for APUs has remained high. During these difficult times, any and all help is welcome that will help the small businessman protect both his health and pocketbook.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer