The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $1.5 million Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that ultimately will remove tons of air pollution from diesel-fueled activities at and near the Port of Portland. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy visited Portland to announce the grant at an event at Northwest Container Services with Oregon DEQ Administrator Dick Pedersen. Amongst other projects, the EPA-funded grant will assist local companies in replacing 23 heavy-duty short-haul diesel trucks, traveling more than 1.3 million miles in the Portland metro area each year.
West Linn Paper Company will play a significant role in the project as the future owner of at least twelve of the new trucks. The company will take older, less efficient equipment out of use and replace it with new vehicles with improved energy efficiency and more effective filters to remove emissions. The positive impact to the environment will be significant — West Linn Paper anticipates that the project will result in a 20% improvement in fuel economy, and filters capable of removing as much as 90% of the tailpipe emissions. “We know this investment will not only improve air quality in Portland, but will also improve people’s health and quality of life,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in EPA’s news release announcing the grant. “Every dollar we invest in clean diesel generates between $7 and $18 in public health benefits. By promoting clean diesel technologies, we can help save lives locally and play a leadership role on climate change globally.”
“West Linn Paper is pleased to be a part of this program,” commented Brian Konen, West Linn Paper COO. “The contribution from these projects will be significant and felt on several different levels, from the local health and environmental improvements to the financial benefits of having more fuel efficient equipment.” West Linn Paper has begun negotiating with equipment suppliers and hopes to have the first of the new fleet on the road by the end of the year.