Guam receives EPA grant for lower emission diesel projects
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam is expected to receive $500,000 in grant under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Diesel Emissions Reduction program for local projects that reduce pollution and advance environmental justice, the governor's office announced.
The award will be equally divided between the Port Authority of Guam and the Guam Power Authority for their respective initiatives to upgrade diesel engines and reduce emissions.
Guam's State Implementation Plan requires GPA to be in compliance with diesel emission standards by April 2023.
Switching to a lower sulfur fuel in order to reach federal standards for sulfur dioxide emissions is required by a consent decree that stemmed from EPA's 2020 lawsuit.
"GPA has agreed to transition to a fuel that is cleaner than the fuel required under the existing consent decree," states a resolution adopted by the Consolidated Commission on Utilities in July 2020.
Specifically, GPA has agreed to transition to fuel with sulfur content of no greater than 0.2 percent to power Cabras Units 1 and 2 until their retirement. This will substantially reduce emissions as compared to the low sulfur residual fuel oil allowed by the consent decree, according to CCU.
“We welcome this funding as an opportunity to strengthen our ability to protect the health of our community and improve our island’s air quality,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
“Older diesel engines emit harmful air pollutants linked to serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, and other respiratory ailments. This latest investment will help us achieve significant reductions in emissions, building on our commitment to creating a healthier Guam," she added.
Sulfur dioxide is a major element of the exhaust from coal-burning power plants and a component of acid rain.
In August 2020, three conservation groups sued EPA for its failure to crack the whip on Guam, Indiana, Louisiana and Puerto Rico that were found to have sulfur dioxide emissions at levels high enough to cause ecological harm and human health problems.
The lawsuit, filed by Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health and the Sierra Club, cited studies that linked sulfur dioxide to respiratory distress, asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.