U.S. announces US$3 billions in funding for Clean Ports Program

EPA announced the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for the Clean Ports Program on February 29. Under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was provided US$3 billion to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure and climate and air quality planning at U.S. ports. 

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).

Antonio Santos, Federal Climate Policy Director, Pacific Environment, said: “We applaud the U.S. EPA for announcing this momentous opportunity to fund zero-emission port equipment, infrastructure, and planning at U.S. ports. The $3 billion in funding will move ports off of fossil fuels and instead use clean technologies like electrification and hydrogen fuel cells. It is imperative that we protect port workers and frontline communities from further exposure to harmful air pollution. The historic investments under the Clean Ports Program will save lives and help transition ports to a zero-emissions future.”

Fern Uennatornwaranggoon, Climate Campaign Director for Ports, Pacific Environment, said: “This once–in-a-generation funding opportunity to address persistent pollution at ports is the result of tireless advocacy by portside communities who have lived with air pollution and health impacts for too long. This is the People’s Money and we are pleased that it will be used to move ports off of fossil fuels and help fund the clean infrastructure needed to address air and climate change pollution. We applaud EPA’s action and look forward to seeing results at the ports.”

Photo credit: iStock/ Paul Bradbury

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