BANNING: EPA awards grant to Morongo band for new vehicles

BANNING – The Banning-based Morongo Band of Mission Indians was awarded more than $167,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency to replace vehicles owned by the tribe with newer, cleaner energy vehicles, the federal agency announced today.

The tribe will use the funds to replace several of its heavy-duty vehicles, including a dump truck and diesel truck dating back 20 years, with trucks equipped with updated particulate filter technologies that help filter and remove soot and other particulates emitted by diesel engines.

About $154,000 was also awarded to the Gila River Indian Community, based near Phoenix, Ariz., to replace two school buses with newer models.

The funds were awarded to the tribes through the EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act program, which awards grants to provide cleaner diesel engine replacements, particularly in “economically disadvantaged communities where residents suffer from higher-than average instances of asthma, heart and lung disease,” according to an EPA statement.

“Clean diesel technologies not only improve air quality, but advance innovation and support jobs,” U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said.

“These projects will significantly reduce harmful emissions and directly benefit the health of residents.”

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