DNREC Solicits Requests for Proposals for Phase 4 of Settlement Mitigation Awards

$3.4 Million in Funding Available to Improve State’s Air Quality

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for investments of $3.4 million from the Environmental Mitigation Trust on projects that improve the state’s air by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). A virtual public meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15 to help organizations apply for the grants by close of business on Monday, March 21.

“The Environmental Mitigation Trust is another opportunity from DNREC to help businesses, non-profit organizations, state agencies and individual citizens in our state to improve air quality,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “I encourage Delaware organizations to submit proposals for projects that will produce tangible results in reducing air pollution and help us move closer to our goal of clean air for Delaware.”

Eligible mitigation actions include projects to reduce NOx from heavy-duty diesel sources. Eligible projects include the replacement or repowering of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and school and transit buses. Other eligible mitigation actions include engine repower for freight switcher locomotives, ferries, tugs, forklifts and port cargo handling equipment. Or, they may also include, in a more limited capacity, charging infrastructure for light-duty zero emission passenger vehicles. Details are outlined in the RFP, published at bids.delaware.gov.

The funding comes from federal redress against Volkswagen Corporation and its subsidiaries for installing emissions “defeat devices” on its diesel vehicles in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Use of these devices increased NOx emissions throughout the country, up to 40 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit, resulting in adverse impacts to air quality and felt particularly in Delaware, where the transportation sector is the state’s leading source of air pollution.

The $3.4 million in funding available this year to Delaware covers the fourth and final phase of the federal settlement with the automaker – and the state’s last disbursement from a total $9.6 million from the trust since 2019.

This year’s solicitation of RFPs aligns with previous project awards, going for upgrades to cleaner-fueled vehicles. These projects included:

  • Phase 1 is a multi-year partnership with the Delaware Department of Education (DDoE), which leveraged the EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (DERA) grants and the Environmental Mitigation Trust, to replace a total of 115 state-owned diesel school buses with buses that operate on clean diesel or propane. DDoE plans to replace additional school buses in Year 4, and exhaust all Phase 1 funds in 2022.
  • Phase 2 supported grants to Waste Management of Delaware, which replaced 10 diesel solid waste refuse vehicles with trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG), and to The Teen Warehouse in Wilmington, which upgraded to an electric zero-emissions school bus using the DERA grant and the Environmental Mitigation Trust.
  • Phase 3 plans included the replacement of nine diesel school buses with two private transportation providers and five government-owned Class 4-7 medium diesel trucks. Replacement projects for one school bus and the five government-owned medium trucks were delayed to due COVID-19 and will be completed in the fall of 2022. DNREC also announced an RFP in the fall for installation of direct current, or DC-fast electric vehicle charging stations.

Comments and questions may be made in advance of the Feb. 15 public meeting. They will be considered for DNREC response during the meeting. Contact and login information is available on the DNREC online calendar at de.gov/dnrecmeetings. Additionally, written questions will be received by the DNREC Division of Air Quality until Feb. 22.

The solicitation can be found on the state Office of Management and Budget website. The final phase of Environmental Mitigation Trust funds are expected to be awarded during the second half of 2022. More information on the Environmental Mitigation Plan is available at de.gov/vwmitigation.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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DNREC Announces $1.4 Million in Grant Funding to Expand Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations

Competitive Grants to Install DC-Fast Charging Stations Will Facilitate Electric Vehicle Adoption and Improve Air Quality

Improving the availability of public charging stations for the growing number of electric vehicles on Delaware roads is the goal of a grant program announced this week by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

The public direct current, or DC-fast electric vehicle charging installation funding will provide up to 75% of the cost to build publicly available DC-fast charging stations for electric vehicles. DNREC expects to award one to three grants with the program’s $1.4 million funding.

Funding will be targeted to increase the availability of electric vehicle infrastructure in areas where access to fast charging stations is limited.

Transportation is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware. Today’s announcement follows closely on the heels of the release of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines strategies and actions the state can take to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles and installation of charging infrastructure to support the growing number of electric vehicle drivers are key strategies in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, available at de.gov/climateplan.

“Vehicle electrification is a leading strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation system,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “By providing funding opportunities for businesses to install charging stations, we are combatting climate change, improving public health and providing new job opportunities.”

The funding builds upon Delaware’s Clean Transportation Incentive Programs, which include a suite of rebates for light-duty electric vehicles and Level 2 charging stations.

Proposals are due by April 15, 2022. Project funds will be administered by the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy. Funding comes from the Environmental Mitigation Trust, which resulted from the state’s plan to use $9.6 million from the negotiated settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov

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Rebate Program for Electric Vehicles Extended

Incentives Also Offered for Workplace, Public Charging Stations

With auto makers expanding their lines of electric vehicles, and as more Delawareans transition to clean transportation alternatives, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is extending its Clean Transportation Incentive Program through June 30, 2022.

“Thousands of Delaware drivers have made the switch to electric vehicles, and the rebate program has continued to grow as more vehicles come on the market,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Transportation is a leading contributor to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and this program is just one of the ways we are demonstrating our commitment to reducing emissions and improving air quality for a healthier Delaware.”

Since Jan. 1, the program has processed 288 applications for rebates. In 2020, 401 applications totaling $885,000 were processed.

Vehicle electrification is a leading strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

Rebates for the purchase or lease of electric vehicles include:

  • $2,500 for battery electric vehicles, including vehicles with range extenders, with a total vehicle price of $60,000 or less;
  • $1,000 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a total vehicle price of $60,000 or less.

Businesses and property owners of multi-unit dwellings can also take advantage of the rebate program by installing charging stations for customers and tenants to help in the transition of vehicle electrification. The program pays up to 90% of the cost of the charging station, with a max amount of $3,500 per port/$7,000 per station for public properties, fleets and multi-unit dwellings. Rebates are also available for natural gas and propane vehicles.

Delaware’s Clean Transportation Incentive Program is made possible through Delaware’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). More information about the rebates can be found at de.gov/cleantransportation.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

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DNREC Releases NCCo Community Air Monitoring Results

Community Meetings to Be Held on Claymont and Eden Park Studies June 22 and 23 to Help Determine Path Forward for Improving Air Quality

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has released final reports on two community air quality-monitoring projects for the Eden Park and Claymont communities in New Castle County. Drawing on the results from the two reports, DNREC will work with these communities to help them become less susceptible to air pollution and thus improve the quality of life for their residents.

“These types of studies support DNREC’s efforts to improve air quality in communities that may be disproportionately affected by sources of air pollution,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Our adoption of targeted mitigation measures to reduce these emissions – which the air quality monitoring projects will help determine – will improve the quality of life for these impacted communities in Delaware.”

The DNREC Division of Air Quality launched the multi-year and multi-pollutant Eden Park study to investigate air quality based on community concerns of high levels of dust and other pollutants. DNREC found the amount of most types of air pollution at low levels and that air quality in Eden Park comparable to air quality found at other state monitoring locations in New Castle County and in Wilmington. However, while localized to the community, the amount of dust in Eden Park was confirmed to be higher.

Further analyzing the dust composition, DNREC concluded there were three main types of dust identified: concrete dust, soil dust, and dust from tire/brake wear. The concrete dust was the largest component when dust levels were highest. Using this information, the Department has been actively working with local industry to develop and implement mitigation measures to reduce dust in the Eden Park community.study

The Claymont study was conducted to investigate citizen concerns focused on volatile organic compounds (VOC) that could originate from the nearby Claymont/Marcus Hook, Pa. border where several industrial facilities are located.

The study shows that VOC concentrations in Claymont were very low and similar in both specific compounds and amounts as measured by the monitoring station in Wilmington.

DNREC will hold virtual community information meetings later this month to discuss the results of the Eden Park and Claymont studies. The Claymont community meeting is scheduled for June 22 at 6 p.m. The Eden Park meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 23. For more information about the meetings, including how to sign up for and attend them virtually, please visit the DNREC Events Calendar. More information about the studies and air quality reports can be found on the DNREC website at https://de.gov/airstudies.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Delaware Recognizes Air Quality Awareness Week May 3 to 7

Coincides with Onset of Ozone Season and Raised Risk of Unhealthy Air

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control joins national organizations to recognize Air Quality Awareness Week on May 3 to 7. The national theme for 2021 is “Healthy Air – Important for Everyone!”

The DNREC Division of Air Quality, which monitors and regulates the emissions to the air, encourages residents to learn more about the important role of air quality for the health of people and the Earth.

Delawareans can consult the Air Quality Index (AQI) to learn about current local conditions. Created under the Clean Air Act, this online resource from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors and reports on air quality each day.

In Delaware, air quality is rated as “good” for most days of the year. However, there are days when local air quality can pose health risks to sensitive populations, and the AQI offers up-to-the-minute data on when and where such days might be occur.

Air Quality Awareness Week, hosted by the U.S. EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also serves notice that with warmer weather comes the ozone season in Delaware. The EPA and its partner agencies including DNREC use the weeklong-recognition event to encourage people to check the AQI daily to find out when they might be most at risk of poor air quality from ozone in their location.

DNREC advises a few ways Delawareans can help reduce air pollution and help everyone breathe easier:

  • Drive less. Bike, walk, carpool, or take public transportation when you can.
  • Keep your vehicle on ozone season alert. Limit engine idling, refuel only after dark, rely on clean transportation when possible. If you must drive, avoid congested times of day.
  • Conserve electricity. Keep your air conditioner thermostat set at a higher temperature (72 degrees), participate in energy conservation programs, and use major appliances less often when possible.
  • Be aware of Delaware’s open burning ban, which runs from May 1 through Sept. 30. All open burning is prohibited on Air Quality Action Days, when Delaware’s air quality has been forecast as unhealthy.

DNREC provides regular air quality forecasts and an air quality index to help the public know when to take precautions an ozone action day. Visit de.gov/aqi to sign up for air quality email alerts.

Additionally, because air quality in Delaware is affected by pollution in the region, DNREC Division of Air Quality also maintains the Delaware Air Quality Monitoring Network throughout the state and partners with the Air Quality Partnership of Delaware.

Another DNREC partner for improving air quality is the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which addresses numerous clean air topics, including major air pollutants and their health impacts; global warming; industrial sources of pollution; state and local implementation of clean air programs; and clean transportation spanning vehicles, engines and fuels.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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