Courtesy of Ocean Strategies

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DERA Grants Now Open, FAQ’s and More Info.

EPA Program to Award $46 Million for Emissions Reduction
Fishing fleets eligible for grants to upgrade diesel engines

The EPA is now accepting applications nationwide for approximately $46 million in competitive grant funding under the Diesel Emissions Reductions Act (DERA) National Grants Program. The program targets projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions and exposure, particularly from fleets operating in areas designated as poor air quality areas. This includes fishing businesses.
Find a nationwide list of priority geographies here. 

Investigating Next Steps
Previous participants report that the program is competitive and complex, but public-private collaborations help get the job done. A few pointers:

  • Visit the DERA Homepage the for full program information.

  • Find the Experts: EPA Regional offices can provide information on application processes, and air quality associations can inform on emissions recommendations.

  • Find Partners: Work with an expert organization to assess project potential and navigate proposal requirements — such as emisisons reduction calculations. For example, fisheries organizations can partner with air quality associations to apply, or other regional, state, local, tribal or port authorities with transportation or air quality jurisdiction.

  • Find Power Options: Talk to your regional engine reps to match a power option with program eligibility. DERA grants can subsidize up to 50% of a new engine total cost.

The agency will be hosting three informational webinars in the coming weeks:

Applications Due: Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 11:59  p.m. (ET).

A fact sheet, webinar and common questions for the fishing industry are included below. They offer additional background and context on the DERA program and how it fits into the policy landscape impacting American fisheries. Alongside FAQ’s the Ocean Strategies team has asked EPA, these tools can help educate with potential partner organizations and businesses about DERA history, opportunities and next steps.

PACIFIC MARINE EXPO WEBINAR: Ocean Strategies & Diesel Technology Forum
How DERA Funds Repower Partnerships

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act replaces older diesel engines with those fitting higher standards. Since 2008, fleets at marine and inland ports have been a priority for funding, with $93 million going to ports projects from 2008-13. This session explores how industry partnerships and federal funds can support an ongoing effort to upgrade power systems for America’s commercial fishing vessels, and ensure a responsible seafood economy through collaboration with Tribes, fishing communities, fishing associations, and engine manufacturers.

Questions submitted by Ocean Strategies to the EPA DERA program for the commercial fishing industry?

Ocean Strategies emailed the following on January 27, 2021: “if a fleet of fishing vessels (or any vessel) is home-ported in one state but conducts a majority of its business in another (for example, home-ported in Washington but fishes in Alaska), which jurisdiction and approved entity would that fleet seek partnership and application through? Also, how are priority jurisdiction judged and how much operating time does an eligible vessel need in a specific prioritized area (for example, fishes 50% around Kodiak Island, a priority area, but 50% elsewhere in Alaska).”

Thank you for contacting the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Helpline about EPA’s 2021 DERA National Grants. The full Request for Applications is posted on the website at www.epa.gov/dera/national.

Questions similar to yours have been addressed in the 2021 Questions and Answers document at www.epa.gov/dera/national#faq. Please let us know if you need further clarification on the responses below or if you have additional questions.

Question D.14: Is funding available nationwide?

Answer: Yes, eligible project locations include the 50 United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. However, applicants must request funding from the EPA regional office which covers their geographic project location. The term “project location” as used in this RFA refers to the area(s) where the affected vehicles/engines operate. The geographic boundaries for each EPA regional office are defined in Section IV.A of the RFA. Each application should have the EPA Region from which they are requesting funding clearly listed on the cover page of the project narrative. Each application may only request funding from one EPA regional office. Applicants can submit a total of 10 applications overall under this solicitation. No more than three applications may be submitted to the same EPA Region. However, each application must be for a different project and must be submitted separately. An applicant cannot submit two applications that both request funding for the same project (i.e., the same target fleet or group of fleets).

Question D.21: Do all counties on the 2021 Priority Area List receive the same number of priority location points?

Answer: Project locations in counties designated as PM 2.5 or 8-hr Ozone Nonattainment or Maintenance will receive up to 10 points under Section V.A, Criterion #2.A. Project locations in counties where all or part of the population is exposed to diesel PM concentrations above the 80th percentile for diesel PM (see NATA column) will receive up to 5 points under Section V.A, Criterion #2.B. An application may receive points for both Section V.A, Criterion #2.A and #2.B. If a single application includes vehicles operating in more than one location, the Project Narrative should indicate where each vehicle operates and the percent of time spent in each area. Priority area points may be prorated based upon the percent of target vehicles operating in priority areas and the percent of time priority vehicles spend in priority areas.

Question E.ii.7: Does the upgraded vehicle have to be used in the same location as the original vehicle?

Answer: Generally, yes. The term “project location” as used in this RFA refers to the primary area where the affected vehicles/engines operate, or the primary area where the emissions benefits of the project will be realized. Because location is a large factor in selecting projects, it is assumed the new vehicle will continue to operate in the same areas as the original vehicle. If the upgraded vehicle will operate in a different area than the original vehicle, the applicant should provide a detailed explanation and justification.

 Question and Answer Process

According to EPA competition procedures, we must answer questions in a manner that makes the information available to all potential applicants. EPA will respond to your question directly via email and by posting a written answer in the Questions and Answers document. The Questions and Answers document will be updated weekly on the website listed above. The deadline for submitting questions via email is Friday, March 5, 2021at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Submission Deadline 

Application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through www.grants.gov no later than Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time to be considered for funding.

For more information on DERA funding, please visit www.epa.gov/dera. To sign up for email updates about funding opportunities, click the “Contact Us” link at the top-right of the page and then click the link to sign-up for DERA News.

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