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EPA Seeks Rebate Applications for Construction Equipment Retrofits

Submit Your Application by January 15 for a Chance to Win up to $120,000 in Funding!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now collecting applications for the 2013 Construction Equipment Funding Opportunity, a pilot rebate program for non-road engines. EPA currently has $2 million in available funding for rebates to help public and private construction equipment owners repower or retrofit their older diesel construction engines. This program is made possible by the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), which Congress reauthorized in January 2011 to allow rebates, in addition to grants and revolving loans.

Late last year, AGC met with current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to share the association’s continued support for DERA program funding, and the importance of maintaining complete flexibility for grants, loans and rebates, as permitted by the authorizing statute. At that meeting, AGC expressed its strong interest in partnering with EPA to create a pilot rebate program for the construction industry. After months of collaboration with AGC, EPA has officially kicked-off the first-ever construction equipment rebate program. AGC’s significant role in this process and valuable input helped EPA to craft a program that should be appealing to most fleet owners. Notably, the program “stages” from application through payment are streamlined and simplified, compared to the traditional DERA grants for construction equipment.

Eligible Entity Requirements
Eligible applicants for this funding opportunity include private construction companies that operate non-road construction equipment under a contract or lease with a public entity. (Note: The eligibility requirement to have a direct contract with a public entity is a DERA statutory requirement that EPA is unable to alter.) Applicants must operate their equipment in areas of poor air quality (see list of counties).

Eligible applicants who meet the location requirement may apply to install Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) on Tier 2 or Tier 3 engines, or they may apply to replace unregulated or Tier 1 engines with Tier 2 or Tier 3 engines. Applicants may submit one application that includes up to five engines. These five engines can be any combination of the technology options for a total maximum of $120,000 in rebate funding per applicant.

Rebate Application Process
EPA will collect applications through Jan. 15, 2014. You can download an application form from EPA’s website. Email your completed application and required documentation to cleandieselrebate@epa.gov with the subject line “DERA Construction Equipment Rebate Application.” Of the eligible applications, EPA will randomly select applications for funding using a random lottery system. EPA anticipates awarding the rebates in February 2014.

Questions
EPA will offer a webinar to interested applicants on Dec. 9, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. EST. Check EPA’s website for more details about the webinar. Specific questions about the rebate program may be emailed to EPA at cleandieselrebate@epa.gov.

For more detailed information about rebate amounts, program requirements, eligible applicants and engines, please visit http://epa.gov/cleandiesel/dera-rebate-construction.htm.

Future Funding
Future federal funding for the DERA program remains uncertain. The hope is that this year’s pilot rebate program for construction equipment would be met with much industry participation and see sufficient success, ensuring that the program occurs again next year and with an even bigger budget. However, the Obama administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget – which typically runs from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014 – would cut the DERA program money by 70 percent. This would reduce available funding from $20 million in FY 2013 to just $6 million in FY 2014. (Note: All federal agencies are continuing to operate at the FY 2013 enacted levels through Jan. 15.) AGC is continuing to work with a broad Washington, D.C.-based diesel coalition to urge Congress to provide greater financial assistance to the many equipment owners who seek a fair and effective way to reduce emissions from existing fleets of off-road diesel equipment, as more dedicated and innovative funding is surely needed.

If you have any questions, please contact Leah Pilconis, senior environmental advisor to AGC of America, at pilconisl@agc.org.

Be sure to read Constructor magazine’s July/August 2014 issue for a detailed account of the 2013 Construction Equipment Funding Opportunity: who was awarded money, how it was put to work and what the direct implications of the program are to the industry.