Funding Available for Clean Diesel Projects
Townships that want to replace, repower, or retrofit fleet diesel-powered vehicles, engines, and equipment can apply for funding through the state's Clean Diesel Grant Program to help reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality. The deadline for applications is December 28, 2016.
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that more than $518,000 is available for this program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010.
Projects must use technologies certified or verified by the EPA or the Calif. Air Resources Board to lower vehicle emissions, unless otherwise noted in the grant program guidelines. The majority of the fleet's annual operation time must occur in the commonwealth.
To download an application package from the DEP website, click here.
Townships may also request an application package by contacting Samantha Harmon at (717) 787-9495.
The department will be holding a webinar on November 30 to provide general information about the grant program and answer questions, including about the application form and instructions. To register, go to www.dep.pa.gov and type "Webinars" in the search box.
Next Round of Growing Greener Plus Grants Up for Grabs
Watershed restoration is focus
The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for the next round of Growing Greener Plus Grants for watershed restoration, mine reclamation set aside, and EPA Section 319 water quality restoration projects. The deadline for applications is January 13.
A total of $18 million in grants is up for grabs.
Eligible applicants include counties, authorities, and other municipalities; county conservation districts; watershed organizations recognized by the DEP that promote local watershed conservation; councils of governments; and other authorized organizations involved in environmental restoration and protection.
For this grant round, the DEP is placing particular focus on reducing nonpoint source pollution in the 43 counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The department is also interested in projects that use effective best management practices (BMPs) that reduce or eliminate stream impairments, leading to local water quality improvements that contribute to the Chesapeake Bay restoration goals.
In addition, the DEP has identified a number of other priorities, including projects located in regional priority watersheds that reduce the impairment source; priority-type activities that lead to water quality restoration or protection, and projects that support installation of high-priority BMPs to address nonpoint source pollution sources.
Examples of eligible projects include high-priority BMPs, such as riparian forest buffers, streambank fencing, erosion/sedimentation and nutrient control practices on cropland, and animal waste storage systems.
For more information, go to the DEP's Growing Greener webpage or call (717) 705-5400.
Loans Available for Solar Energy Equipment
Townships that are considering installing solar energy generation equipment can apply for loans through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. Applications are due January 23.
Eligible projects include facilities to generate, distribute, or store solar photovoltaic energy. The maximum loan amount may not exceed $5 million or $3 per watta, whichever is less. There is a match requirement of $1 for every $3 of program funding awarded.
For more information, click here. Call (717) 787-6245 with questions.
Environmental Education Grants Help Townships Teach Residents About Environmental Issues
Townships have until December 16 to apply for the state Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Environmental Education Grants. The funding helps municipalities develop programs for residents that focus on the following topics.
• Climate change projects, including:
– Public education campaigns about emissions and protecting public health.
– Education projects that demonstrate and encourage reducing engine idling, conserving energy, sustainable school initiatives, and using alternative transportation and renewable energy.
– Selective climate adaptation projects as a part of a larger educational effort, such as tree plantings, water quality monitoring, riparian buffer plantings, and other related topics.
• Water-related initiatives, including:
– Programs that educate developers, site designers, municipalities, local officials, businesses, and homeowners about reducing non-point source pollution, along with other water-related education. This includes programs on agricultural nutrient management, abandoned mine drainage/reclamation, water conservation, private water wells, groundwater, road salt, citizens’ science and water quality monitoring, stormwater management, cold-water habitats and fisheries, habitat restoration, and other related topics.
• Environmental justice funding, designed to support activities that educate, empower, and enable disadvantaged communities to meaningfully participate in environmental and public health issues and implement local projects. These include:
– Education projects that encourage inner-city students to develop a connection to nature and the urban environment and develop hands-on stewardship projects to better understand environmental impacts and risks.
– Projects to identify sources of household hazardous waste and local hazardous waste facilities; educate residents on proper disposal; and explain and encourage the use of green cleaning products.
– Projects to track, monitor, and develop education programs that address and reduce vehicle idling and promote alternative transportation.
– Demonstration projects about green infrastructure or energy conservation, including green rooftops or walls, rain gardens, rain barrels or cisterns, tree box filters, urban tree plantings, energy conservation or renewable energy, and other related projects.
Demonstration projects must educate and expand the community’s knowledge and understanding of pollution impacts and climate change.
– Citizen involvement projects to create, through seed funding, municipal or multi-municipal environmental advisory councils (EAC) and other public participation teams.
Funding will support EAC projects, such as stormwater education programs with an emphasis on improving water quality for MS4 permittees and other priority topics; comprehensive demonstration projects; and how-to training about DEP and public participation, including the regulatory process and becoming involved as a partner.
General grants (up to $50,000) for regional projects require a 20 percent match. Mini-grants (up to $3,000) do not require a match.
For more information, contact DEP’s Environmental Education and Information Center at (717) 772-1828 or go to www.dep.pa.gov, keyword “EE Grants.” Applications must be filed online at http://dep.pa.gov/EE_Grants.
Grants Help Townships Inventory, Clean Up Brownfields
Townships that have sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants, including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum, may apply for grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess and clean up the sites. The deadline for applications is December 20.
Two categories of brownfields funding are available:
• Assessment grants provide funds to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning (including cleanup planning) and encourage community involvement in brownfield sites.
• Cleanup grants provide funds to clean up a specific brownfield site owned by the applicant.
Guidelines for each funding category are available at www2.epa.gov/brownfields/apply-brownfields-grant-funding.
For more information or to discuss the eligibility of a project, contact EPA Region 3 Brownfields Coordinator Tom Stolle at (215) 814-3129.
Funding Available for Coldwater Stream Conservation
Townships that have trout streams and other coldwater ecosystems may apply for grants from the Coldwater Heritage Partnership, which provides technical assistance and funding for the evaluation, conservation, and protection of Pennsylvania’s streams. Proposals must be postmarked by December 16.
• Planning grants provide funding to develop a conservation plan that identifies the value of and threats to coldwater ecosystems with naturally reproducing trout. The information collected can be used as a catalyst for more comprehensive planning or watershed improvement projects. Planning grants average about $5,000.
• Implementation grants fund projects that have been recommended in a complete conservation plan or report. Potential projects must enhance, conserve, or protect the coldwater stream named in the original plan. The grants average about $7,000.
For more information, guidelines, and applications, go to www.coldwaterheritage.org/grant-application-and-guidelines or call program director Tali MacArthur at (814) 359-5233.