Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Ports Program In Focus

22nd April 2024

Earlier this year the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 3$ billion zero emission transition project. Established under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the "Clean Ports" Program aims to help ports transition to zero-emissions operations, reduce diesel pollution and engage with the local community. The funding is open as a competitive bidding based process spread across a number of critera. 100% of the 3$ billion allocation is to be assigned by the middle of 2024.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Ports Program In Focus

What can the funding be used for?

Under the Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition, eligible expenses encompass:

  • Procurement and deployment of new eligible battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, vessels, powertrains, or other mobile equipment designed for zero emissions.
  • Establishment of zero-emission infrastructure such as fuelling stations to support equipment purchased with grant funding.

Activities eligible for support under the Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition include:

  • Mandatory emissions inventorying and accounting practices.
  • Stakeholder collaboration and communication, with a focus on communities situated near the port.
  • Identification of resiliency measures.
  • Analysis of strategies and setting goals.

This program, a component of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, features two grant competitions. The Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition will allocate nearly $2.8 billion to finance zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure, including cargo handling machinery, vessels, and electric charging infrastructure. The Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition will provide approximately $150 million for planning efforts at ports aimed at reducing emissions and involving local communities.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan highlighted the program's significance in creating jobs, reducing air pollution, and advancing environmental justice.

"Our nation’s ports are among the busiest in the world, helping us to create good jobs here in America, move goods, and grow our economy,” Regan said. “Today’s historic funding announcement reflects President Biden’s vision of growing our economy while ensuring America leads in creating globally competitive solutions of the future. Today we’re making $3 billion available to install cleaner and more efficient technologies while cutting air pollution to protect the people who work at and live near ports."

The US represents a substantial component in global shipping and marine emissions with some of the busiest ports in the world. Ports are a vital part of a nation's maritime transportation system. The United States has more than 300 ports operated by states, counties, municipalities, and private corporations. Water transport was the dominant mode of transport for the US in 2021. That year, imports to the country amounting to the weight of 671 million short tons were transported by ships. Goods exported by ships from the US weighed 918 million short tons in 2021.

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