Biden administration launches $3bn clean ports investment program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the launch of the $3bln Clean Ports Program to help fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure, helping to address the climate crisis and improve air quality at U.S. ports.

The program was established under President Biden’s inflation reduction act, the largest climate investment in history, and aims to advance environmental justice by reducing diesel pollution from U.S. ports in surrounding communities, while creating well-paying jobs.

The EPA is releasing two separate Notice of Funding Opportunities as part of the $3bln.

The nearly $2.8bln 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.

A further approximate $150m 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.

John Podesta, senior advisor to the president for international climate policy, said: “Communities living near America’s ports have borne the brunt of some of the worst air pollution coming from shipping, trucking, and maritime industries.”

“Today’s historic announcement from EPA is an investment in a cleaner, healthier future for those communities,” he added.

The funding 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.

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).

The funding opportunities were announced by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, at an event in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Clean Ports Program 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.

The new program builds on the success of EPA’s Ports Initiative and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act programs, which have invested over $196m to implement 207 diesel emissions reduction projects at ports with an additional $88m to multi-sector projects that involve ports.

The deadline to apply for the two Clean Ports Program NOFOs is May 28.