The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supporting local efforts to reduce air pollution in the New York City metropolitan area by providing a total of $1.18 million to help two organizations replace old, dirty diesel engines on boats with less polluting models. The projects will cut emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter among other pollutants. These pollutants are linked to health problems, including asthma, lung and heart disease and premature death.

Diesel engines often remain in use a long time. Older diesel engines that predate current and stricter air pollution standards emit large amounts of air pollutants. EPA grants such as those announced today are helping to reduce air pollution from some of the more than 11 million older diesel engines that continue to emit higher levels of pollution.

“Older diesel engines generate significant amounts of air pollution that can make people sick,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Judith A. Enck. “Replacing or retrofitting old polluting diesel engines reduces people’s exposure to pollutants that can lead to asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days and many other health impacts.”

The Connecticut Maritime Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, will use a $600,000 EPA grant to replace two old engines on the Cape Henlopen, a ferry, which operates out of Long Island, with new and cleaner EPA-certified engines. The project is expected to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 24.4 tons per year and particulate matter by 0.94 tons per year in addition to conserving 12,400 gallons of fuel annually.

The New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition, a not-for-profit organization, will use a $589,025 EPA grant to replace the old engines on five cruise and excursion marine vessels and two tugboats that operate out of New York harbor with new and cleaner EPA-certified engines. The project is expected to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 55.4 tons and particulate matter by 2.85 tons per year in addition to conserving over 184,000 gallons of fuel annually.