EPA to fund Clean Ports Program at ports nationwide

The agency said it will fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure and climate and air quality planning at U.S. ports under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

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The EPA made an announcement that it will provide $3 billion in funding for the Clean Ports Program. In the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), the agency said it will fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure and climate and air quality planning at U.S. ports under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The funding will be broken up into two grants; Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition and Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition.

“We applaud the U.S. EPA for announcing this momentous opportunity to fund zero-emission port equipment, infrastructure, and planning at U.S. ports,” Antonio Santos, federal climate policy director at Pacific Environment, said. “The $3 billion in funding will move ports off of fossil fuels and instead use clean technologies like electrification and hydrogen fuel cells.”

Under the Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition, the EPA will allocate nearly $2.8 billion to “fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to reduce mobile source emissions at U.S. ports,” according to a press release. Some eligible uses of the NOFO include human-operated and maintained zero-emission cargo handling equipment, harbor craft and other vessels, electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and a number of other technology investments. Applications will have to go through multiple tiers that way the funds are distributed across different sized and types of ports as well as ports serving Tribal communities.

“It is imperative that we protect port workers and front-line communities from further exposure to harmful air pollution,” Santos said. “The historic investments under the Clean Ports Program will save lives and help transition ports to a zero-emissions future.”

About $150 million will fund the Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition to cover climate and air quality planning activities at U.S. ports such as emissions inventories, strategy analysis, community engagement, and resiliency measure identification, according to a press release. The goal of this NOFO is to “advance next-generation, clean technologies that will more safely and efficiently drive the movement of goods and passengers at our nation’s ports, a critical part of America’s supply chain infrastructure while reducing pollution and advancing environmental justice.”

“This once–in-a-generation funding opportunity to address persistent pollution at ports is the result of tireless advocacy by port-side communities who have lived with air pollution and health impacts for too long,” Fern Uennatornwaranggoon, climate campaign director for ports at Pacific Environment, said. “This is the People’s Money and we are pleased that it will be used to move ports off of fossil fuels and help fund the clean infrastructure needed to address air and climate change pollution. We applaud EPA’s action and look forward to seeing results at the ports.”

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