The purpose of the Georgia Diesel Emissions Reduction (GaDER) Program is to reduce diesel emissions from the diesel fleet and diesel engines in Georgia. This is accomplished through education of fleet managers, support of alternative fuels, installation of emission control devises, early replacement of diesel vehicles, rebuilding engines to a cleaner standard, and repowering (update to cleaner engine). The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) pursues grant funding when available to fund these strategies.
The GaDER Program began as a pilot program designed to provide funding assistance to school systems (in the twenty county metro Atlanta non-attainment area) by reducing emissions from their school bus fleets. EPD secured grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus USA to launch the program. With the success of retrofitting the initial 56 school buses in the metro Atlanta area, EPD applied for and received more funding to continue the program. Funding through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ) and the Georgia Pacific Supplemental Environmental Program (GA Pacific SEP) provided funds for more retrofits. To date more than 3,000 school buses have been retrofitted through this program.
Outreach was a major component of the program since most of the grants require matching funds. For this reason, EPD partnered with the Georgia Conservancy, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, The Clean Air Campaign and Mothers & Others for Clean Air to provide outreach assistance and technical support, helping school systems reach out to their communities to raise the necessary funds to retrofit their buses. The school systems in turn agreed to implement an emissions reduction plan, consisting of retrofitting existing buses, using best management practices, purchasing cleaner fuels, and purchasing cleaner school buses.
Since the initial pilot school bus retrofits, the GaDER Program has provided funding, outreach, and assistance for many voluntary diesel emission reduction measures including: idling reduction, truck stop electrification, use of cleaner fuels, and emission controls for rail yards, truck fleets, and construction equipment.
With help from the GaDER Program, over 3,000 Georgia school buses are running cleaner.
The following partners have been critical to the success of the GaDER program:
- Georgia Department of Education
- The Georgia Department of Transportation (GA DOT)
- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
- The STRIDE Collaborative
- Clean Cities Georgia
- Georgia Ports Authority
- Mothers & Others for Clean Air
- Georgia Commute Options