Grant helps businesses reduce air pollution

Nine Bay Area businesses will receive part of a $2.6 million grant to install cleaner engines and equipment, in an effort to reduce air emissions, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Thursday.

The district’s Board of Directors approved the grant funds from the Carl Moyer Program in a meeting Wednesday, which would give businesses the means to install cleaner engines and up-to-date equipment, according to district officials.

The funding would result in the reduction of emissions of air pollutants and smog-forming compounds in the Bay Area, including reductions in nitrous oxides, reactive organic gases and particular matter, district officials said.

The project will also help reduce the amount of annual emissions, by a projected 12 tons, according to district officials.

Executive Officer of the air district, Jack Broadbent said in a statement:

“Upgrading equipment and installing cleaner engines proves beneficial for the businesses and area residents alike. … By funding cleaner engine projects, the Air District helps reduce air pollution from local business operations and protects the health of Bay Area residents in the nearby communities.”

Some of the projects approved for the grant funds include a commercial fishing vessel used to catch crab, salmon and other fish, operating off the shores of Marin and Sonoma counties. The vessel will get more than $136,000 to replace its 35-year-old diesel-powered marine propulsion engine, according to the air district.

Global Mushrooms, a Gilroy-based mushroom farm, was awarded $117,000 to replace a 16-year-old diesel-powered loader with a new model that is significantly cleaner, the air district said.

The Richmond Pacific Rail Corporation will receive $760,000 to replace an older diesel-powered locomotive. The locomotive is the first switcher locomotive in the country that is designed to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s tier 4 emission standards, which will cut exhaust emissions by more than 90 percent, district officials said.

Additionally, Southwest Airlines at Oakland International Airport will receive more than $150,000 to replace six diesel-powered aircraft tugs with zero-emission electric units. By switching to electric equipment, Southwest will be able to reduce its overall fuel consumption, resulting in less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the air district.

Approximately $10 million in new grant funding for similar projects will be available later this summer, the air district said.

For more information on the Carl Moyer Program, residents can visit www.baaqmd.gov/moyer.