Biden-Harris Administration invests $3B into clean ports as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda

WASHINGTON — Today, Feb. 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the launch of the $3 billion Clean Ports Program to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to tackle the climate crisis and improve air quality at U.S. ports as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The funding opportunities were created under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate investment in history — and will advance environmental justice by reducing diesel pollution from U.S. ports in surrounding communities, while creating good-paying jobs. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan made this announcement at an event in Wilmington, North Carolina with Governor Roy Cooper today as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour.

“Our nation’s ports are among the busiest in the world, helping us to create good jobs here in America, move goods, and grow our economy,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today’s historic funding announcement reflects President Biden’s vision of growing our economy while ensuring America leads in creating globally competitive solutions of the future. Today we’re making $3 billion available to install cleaner and more efficient technologies while cutting air pollution to protect the people who work at and live near ports.”

“Our country’s ports feed our supply chains to put food on our tables, keep our businesses running and provide for our everyday needs,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We are deeply grateful to the Biden Administration for the investments that have helped fix our supply chain, rebuild our infrastructure and create thousands of good paying clean energy jobs.”

“Communities living near America’s ports have borne the brunt of some of the worst air pollution coming from shipping, trucking, and maritime industries,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for International Climate Policy. “Today’s historic announcement from EPA is an investment in a cleaner, healthier future for those communities.”

“President Biden and Vice President Harris believe every person deserves clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. Communities near our nation’s ports are disproportionately impacted by air pollution and other environmental hazards, and this funding will help reduce emissions while creating good-paying jobs as we transition to a clean energy future,” said White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “Today’s announcement will help ensure families who live, work, and play near our ports have cleaner air to breathe and a healthier environment as we work to advance the President’s ambitious environmental justice agenda.”

“For decades, ports have been hubs of pollution — but thanks to President Biden, we are turning them into hubs of American innovation,” said Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “There’s an incredible array of new technologies that can make ports cleaner and greener, all while creating good-paying jobs and strengthening American supply chains. The Clean Ports Program is demonstrating how these technologies can work together to deliver clean air for our children, cut down on harmful climate pollution, and achieve fully zero-emission operations. That’s a gamechanger for port communities, for workers, and for America’s economy. That’s environmental justice – long overdue.”

The Clean Ports Program will help advance the President’s commitment to environmental justice and the Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments in climate, clean energy, and other areas flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. In addition to these efforts, EPA strived to ensure that near-port community engagement and equity considerations are at the forefront of our program design, including by evaluating applications on the extent and quality of community engagement efforts.

The Clean Ports Program is designed to help ports across the country transition to fully zero-emissions operations — serving as a catalyst for transformational change across the freight sector. To achieve this, EPA is releasing two separate Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) as part of the $3 billion. The nearly $2.8 billion Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition will directly fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to reduce mobile source emissions at U.S. ports. Eligible uses of funding include human-operated and maintained zero-emission cargo handling equipment, harbor craft and other vessels, electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and a number of other technology investments. Applications under this competition will be evaluated under multiple tiers in order to ensure that funds are distributed across ports of different sizes and types, and to ensure funding for ports serving Tribal communities.

The approximately $150 million Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition will fund climate and air quality planning activities at U.S. ports — including emissions inventories, strategy analysis, community engagement, and resiliency measure identification. Together, these opportunities will advance next-generation, clean technologies that will more safely and efficiently drive the movement of goods and passengers at our nation’s ports, a critical part of America’s supply chain infrastructure while reducing pollution and advancing environmental justice.

The funding for the two grant competitions is available to port authorities; state, regional, local, or Tribal agencies that have jurisdiction over a port authority or port; air pollution control agencies; and private entities that apply in partnership with an eligible entity above, and that own, operate or use facilities, cargo-handling equipment, transportation equipment, or related technology of a port. The funding can be used for projects at water ports (coastal and inland) as well as projects at facilities where goods are transferred between rail cars and trucks (dry ports).

Ports are the transportation and commerce hubs that make the U.S. economy hum. In our global economy, efficient and effective ports are central to our economic viability and prosperity. At the same time, they are places where large concentrations of diesel equipment converge — including ships, trucks, rail, and non-road machinery. These diesel engines, particularly older engines found in many ports, operate near where people live, work, and play, emitting air pollution that can harm human health and contribute to climate change. This historic investment in clean technologies at ports that reduce exposure to air pollution will protect public health, particularly for communities surrounding ports. The Clean Ports Program will also help to ensure that meaningful community engagement and emissions reduction planning are port industry standard practices.

The new program builds on the success of EPA’s Ports Initiative and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act programs, which have invested over $196 million to implement 207 diesel emissions reduction projects at ports with an additional $88 million to multi-sector projects that involve ports. Using the Ports Initiative and DERA’s strong foundation as a launchpad, the Clean Ports Program will drive transformational change across the freight sector. This new Clean Ports Program is one of several complementary programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that can help reduce emissions at ports, including the Department of Transportation’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, which will be releasing a NOFO shortly. Visit a new interagency webpage summarizing federal funding opportunities for low- to zero-emission port technologies.

In addition to protecting human health and the environment, the program will create new jobs in the domestic clean energy sector and enhance U.S. economic competitiveness, through innovation, installation, maintenance, and operation of zero-emissions equipment and infrastructure. The program’s historic investment in zero-emission port technology will promote and ensure the U.S. position as a global leader in clean technologies.

The deadline to apply for the two Clean Ports Program NOFOs is May 28. Eligible applicants can apply for funding through one or both NOFOs.

Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition NOFO

Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition NOFO

To learn more about the Clean Ports Program, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, please visit the Clean Ports Program webpage. Questions may also be directed to CleanPorts@epa.gov.

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