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Stephen Huba

The state Department of Environmental Protection awarded $510,000 in grants for three clean energy vehicle projects in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the agency announced Wednesday.

The money comes from the state’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants program and will be used to help replace older shuttles, school buses, waste-hauling trucks and other vehicles with cleaner, natural gas and electric vehicles, as well as the installation of fueling stations for such vehicles.

“Replacing gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles with lower-emissions alternative fuel vehicles will make Pennsylvania’s communities and environment healthier,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

The projects in southwestern Pennsylvania are expected to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 131 metric tons, DEP said. That is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions for about 28 regular gas vehicles, according to government figures.

Receiving grants around the region are:

  • Waste Management — $300,000 to buy eight heavy-duty, compressed natural gas vehicles for use in Westmoreland County, continuing the company’s transition to alternative fuels in Western Pennsylvania.
  • Peoples Natural Gas Co. — $180,000 for 24 new bi-fuel natural gas/diesel vehicles in locations in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Washington counties.
  • Allegheny County — $30,000 for four new Chevy Bolt electric vehicles to replace four fleet vehicles used by county employees working Downtown.

School districts, municipalities, nonprofit organizations and businesses are eligible to apply for AFIG grants. Approximately $3 million remains available in 2019. The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Dec. 13. The next grant availability is expected to open in the spring.

In April, DEP awarded more than $1 million for nine clean energy projects in the region, including $151,555 to DMJ Transportation to buy 17 liquid propane gas-powered school buses to service the Mt. Pleasant Area School District.

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