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Morongo tribe gets money for cleaner trucks

By in Press Enterprise on July 9, 2017

By Craig Shultz

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is one of two western tribes to benefit from an EPA program designed to reduce emissions from diesel trucks and buses.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Region awarded more than $167,000 to the Morongo Band to help buy two heavy-duty vehicles through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act.

The tribe will replace a 1998 dump truck with a 2016 model and replace a 1997 diesel truck with a 2016 refuse hauler as part of a matching grant, which will have the tribe picking up part of the cost.

Once purchased, the refuse hauler will be used for trash/refuse collection and the dump truck will be used for infrastructure/dirt-moving work on the reservation.

“This grant, combined with matching funds from Morongo, will allow us to replace two older vehicles with more efficient greener technology, which will help us bring cleaner air to our region and furthers our continuing commitment to improving the environment,” Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said in a statement.

The Morongo Reservation spans more than 35,000 acres around the 10 Freeway east of Banning and includes the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa. There are about 1,000 tribal members.

As part of the program, the Gila River Indian Community, near Phoenix, received $154,000 to replace two pre-2007 school buses with similar models.

“Clean diesel technologies not only improve air quality, but advance innovation and support jobs,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a new release. “These projects will significantly reduce harmful emissions and directly benefit the health of residents.”

The U.S. EPA’s DERA program reduces harmful emissions by funding engine replacements, idle reduction and retrofit technologies to clean up a variety of older diesel engines.

The grants are administered by EPA’s West Coast Collaborative, a clean air public-private partnership. Since 2008, the program has awarded nearly 690 grants […]    

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