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People living and working near ports across the country will breathe cleaner air and live better lives as a result of bold steps taken through a collaboration of industry, government and communities to improve environmental performance and increase economic prosperity.
March 2019 (Vol. 4, Ed. 3)
EPA Ports Initiative Newsletter

Featured News

This newsletter highlights a railyard project that reduced costs and emissions significantly, and the National Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding opportunity.
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Did You Know?
Missoula Railyard Reduces Costs and Idling Emissions
Montana Rail Link Locomotive Missoula, MT Railyard.
Photo Credit: Tom Danneman, © 2018 Kalmbach Media Co.

A 2009 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant partially funded the installation of  auxiliary power units (APUs) on eight 50+ year old switcher locomotives at  the Montana Rail Link (MRL) Railyard in Missoula, Montana. Additionally, MRL changed the mandatory idling policy for colder months to better fit daily temperature conditions resulting in significant fuel savings. The policy change and APU installation resulted in significant fuel savings and emission reduction.


There were 2,618 prolonged idling hours each year per locomotive engine prior to the APU installation and implementation of the new yard idling policy that required idling only when temperatures were lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. After implementation of the new idling policy and the APU units, mandatory idling hours were reduced to 1,773, and during these hours the APUs were running instead of the locomotive engines. 

The net idling emission reductions due to the yard idling policy change and APU installation (10-year expected lifetime) that were done in 2010 are noted below:
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Idling Reductions
    • 95 percent reduction
  • Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) Idling Reductions
    • 89 percent reduction
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Idling Reductions
    • 60 percent reduction
Costs of the APU units and installation as well as cost savings due to reduced fuel usage are outlined below.
  • Cost to purchase and install all the APUs on the eight switchers was $243,993.
  • Annual fuels savings averaged $235,964 due to the reduced fuel use of the APUs and the implemented idling policy.
  • APUs and their installation were paid for by cost savings in under two years.
  • Net savings in fuel costs after purchase and installation of the eight APUs over the ten-year period will be approximately $2,115,642.

Lessons Learned

MRL has found the APU installations and changes to the Missoula yard idling policy to be a good program that continues to benefit those across Montana, including Montana Rail Link employees and others who work and live near the railyard. Attention to diligent maintenance and repair of APUs, as well as the training of new locomotive operators in proper APU monitoring and operation were also essential to the success of this idle reduction initiative.

More Information


Some of the content in this article is from the report prepared by the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the EPA funded Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant (DE-97897201). Note: In general, EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by third-parties. EPA is providing content in this article from a third-party for informational purposes only to showcase promising environmental practices. In doing so, EPA does not endorse any third-party non-government websites, companies, applications, practices, or technologies.

EPA Extends Deadline for Applications for 2019 DERA Clean Diesel National Grants
2019 DERA Clean Diesel National Grants Program
Deadline to Apply - March 26, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of approximately $40 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation's existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 80 awards are anticipated to be made to eligible applicants. Approximately 39 percent of 2018 DERA Clean Diesel National Grants applications received were for ports related projects.

One of the priorities is to reduce diesel emissions from vehicles, engines, and equipment located at, or that service, goods movement facilities such as ports, airports, rail yards, terminals, or distribution centers. 

Eligible Entities
Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, or port authorities, with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

Changes for 2019
  • Change to allow funding for marine vessels that are replaced with newer, cleaner vessels that operate on diesel or alternative fuels and use engines certified by EPA or the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Funding can cover up to 25% of the cost of replacement with a 2018 model year or newer, or up to 45% of the cost of a zero emissions vessel. 
  • Change in project sustainability criteria to separately give up to 5 review points each for: 1) a publicly available baseline mobile source emissions inventory or refinement of an existing inventory completed before 2014; and 2) a publicly available long-term air quality plan or refinement of an existing air quality plan completed before 2014. 
  • Change to provide funding for a vehicle with a 2010 or newer engine model year (EMY) to be replaced and allow the replaced vehicle to be retained or sold if the vehicle will replace a 1996-2009 EMY vehicle and the 1996-2009 EMY vehicle will be scrapped. 
  • Change to provide funding to replace a Tier 2 or Tier 3 locomotive, marine, nonroad vehicle, equipment and/or engine and allow the units to be retained or sold if they will replace a similar, lower Tiered unit, and the lower Tiered unit will be scrapped.
Refer to Request for Applications for complete details on the changes noted above for 2019 Fiscal Year funding.

For More Information