The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made $9 million in grant funding available for clean diesel projects to reduce diesel pollution and emissions exposure from the nation's existing fleet of diesel engines.

The funding comes from EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Program, targeting what the agency says are “the most cost-effective projects and fleets operating in areas designated as poor air quality areas.”

Under this funding, EPA anticipates awarding between 10 and 20 assistance agreements.

Various strategies are eligible for achieving diesel emission reductions, such as installing verified exhaust control and idle reduction devices, and vehicle and engine replacement. Projects may include school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and other diesel engines.

EPA claims since the start of the DERA program in 2008, it has improved air quality and provided critical health benefits by reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and saving millions of gallons of fuel. EPA estimates that clean diesel funding generates up to $13 of public health benefit for every $1 spent on diesel projects.

EPA says it has awarded over 600 DERA grants across the U.S. and reduced more than 250,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and more than 14,000 tons of particulate matter. Many of these projects fund cleaner diesel engines that operate in economically disadvantaged communities whose residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart, and lung disease, according to the agency.

The closing date for receipt of proposals is June 17.

More information and to access the request for proposals and other documents is on the EPA website