January 13, 2020 – A popular excursion boat on Lake Champlain owned by Mesa Leasing, Ltd., is receiving an upgrade to reduce its environmental impact. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Diesel Emissions Reduction Program awarded $268,073 to Mesa Leasing, Ltd. to replace four unregulated, heavily polluting diesel engines powering the Spirit of Ethan Allen III. This grant is the largest single Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant ever awarded. The project will improve air quality along the Burlington waterfront, protect public health, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
“We want to do our part to protect the waterfront and the lake, to cut down our carbon footprint, and be more environmentally friendly. We wanted to cut down on our fossil fuel usage and pollution contribution to make the environment much cleaner," said Wilson Tucker, Head Engineer for the Spirit of Ethan Allen.
The old engines will be replaced with new, cleaner engines that meet more stringent emissions standards. The new engines will eliminate an estimated 457.2 tons of diesel emissions, including 17 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 0.6 tons of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), 0.6 tons of hydrocarbons, 2 tons of carbon monoxide, and 437 tons of carbon dioxide. The ship will be operating with the new engines by May 1, 2020.
Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants are made possible with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act. DEC has received federal funding for the Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Program since 2008. The program has provided more than $3.2 million in grants to Vermont schools, municipalities, and local businesses to reduce diesel emissions by an estimated 290 tons of NOx, 14 tons of PM2.5, 10 tons of hydrocarbons, 97 tons of carbon monoxide and 7,663 tons of carbon dioxide.
To accomplish these emission reductions, the grant program helped fund the early replacement of more than 60 more heavily polluting school buses, more than 12 older heavy-duty diesel trucks, and five pieces of heavily polluting non-road equipment like backhoes, excavators and wheel loaders. Grants have also been awarded to install idle reduction technologies for emergency vehicles at hospitals and on locomotive engines and retrofit more than 12 waste haulers with additional emission controls.
For more information about the DERA grant program, including how you can apply and to see past recipients, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/mobile-sources/diesel-emissions.