The City of St. Paul says it will achieve a significant reduction in its carbon emissions as it replaces 10 of its public works vehicles with eco-friendlier alternatives.
The city announced on Monday it's replacing three clam trucks, two dump trucks, two aerial lifts, a digger, a loader, and a street sweeper with new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The vehicles being replaced are between 17 and 24 years old and "lacked modern environmental performance controls," the city said. The introduction of the new vehicles is expected to result in carbon emission savings the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road.
The $2 million project has been aided by a grant from Project Green Fleet, a program by Environmental Initiative that replaces or retrofits diesel-burning vehicles across the state of Minnesota.
Mayor Melvin Carter, who unveiled the vehicles on Monday, said: "Upgrading our city vehicles will help reduce pollution and improve air quality. This project helps us build a more sustainable city for our future, and supports our commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050."
The public health benefits
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency notes that most of Minnesota's air pollution comes from "smaller, widespread sources that are not highly regulated," including, cars, trucks, construction equipment, wood burning and residential garbage.
St. Paul cited an EPA study that says every dollar spent on diesel emission reduction projects results in $13-$30 of public health benefits.
"Upgrading these vehicles through programs like Project Green Fleet is critical to decreasing air pollution and improving public health," said Jessie Shmool, an epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health.
"These vehicles travel all over Saint Paul, passing many communities on the way that are already over-burdened with environmental and health stressors."
This is the largest partnership Project Green Fleet has entered into with a municipality, with much of Environmental Initiative's work up until now having typically seen it work with private businesses, including construction firms, railroad companies, and school bus providers.
Since 2005, it estimates it's removed pollution equivalent to 750,000 vehicles from Minnesota roads by retrofitting 4,600 diesel vehicles, including 3,200 school buses.