LEWES, Del. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del) joined officials from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency to announce a $975,000 Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant to the Delaware River and Bay Authority that will help bring new clean air technology to the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and reduce toxic air emissions. Sen. Carper has been a champion for clean air and co-authored the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, which the president signed into law in 2011.
“For every $1 invested through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, we get over $13 in health and economic benefits in return,” Sen. Carper said. “The good thing about diesel engines is that they last a long time, and the bad thing about diesel engines is that they last a long time. Retrofitting or replacing older diesel engines can dramatically reduce harmful emissions but, despite the long-term economic benefits of these upgrades, there are few direct and immediate economic incentives. Programs like the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act help encourage critical investment in updating our diesel fleets so they are cleaner and friendlier for our environment. The changes made to these ferry engines will be a breath of fresh air for the folks that live here in Lewes and in New Jersey.”
The grant will support repowering the propulsion engines in the ferry boat M/V Delaware with EPA certified engines that are anticipated to annually reduce fuel use by 39,600 gallons and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 443 tons. In addition, the upgrade will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 39.7 tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by nearly half a ton.
The year-round Cape May-Lewes Ferry service is a critical part of the Mid-Atlantic regional transportation infrastructure, carrying about 800,000 passengers and 300,000 vehicles annually on a 14-mile route between Lewes, Del. and Cape May, N.J. For more than 40 years, the ferry has offered customers economical and efficient transportation. DERA funds are used to clean up the legacy fleet of diesel engines that were produced before more recent environmental standards. The DERA grant program is intended to help solve some complex air quality issues in port communities.