BURLINGTON – The Spirit of Ethan Allen III, a popular Lake Champlain cruise based out of Burlington, is receiving a sizable emissions grant for reducing its impact to the environment, the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced earlier this week.

In a press release issued Monday, DEC said Mesa Leasing, Ltd., the company that owns the Spirit of Ethan Allen III, would received $268,000 in grant funding through the Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant program to replace the four “unregulated, heavily polluting diesel engines” powering the boat.

According to DEC, the grant is the single largest grant ever awarded through the state’s diesel emissions program, and is intended “to improve air quality along the Burlington waterfront, protect public health and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We want to do our part to protect the waterfront and the lake, to cut down our carbon footprint, and be more environmentally friendly,” the Spirit of Ethan Allen‘s head engineer, Wilson Tucker, said in a statement. “We wanted to cut down on our fossil fuel usage and pollution contribution to make the environment much cleaner.”

The four engines currently powering the Spirit of Ethan Allen will be replaced with cleaner engines capable of meeting stricter emissions standards.

DEC estimates that the engines could eliminate as much as 457 tons of diesel emissions, including significant amounts of greenhouse gases like nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide that have been implicated in global climate change.

The ship will be operating with the new engines by May 1, 2020.

The state’s diesel emissions grants are supported through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guaranteed under the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act.

Since 2008, the program has administered more than $3.2 million in diesel reduction grants to schools, businesses and municipalities, supporting the replacement of school buses, diesel trucks and non-road equipment like backhoes and excavators.

The program has also supported idle reduction technologies for emergency vehicles and locomotive engines.

The Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant program is funded through federal allocations guaranteed by the Diesel Emission Reduction Act.

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