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EPA Awards $1.3 Million To National City And Environmental Group

National City and the Environmental Health Coalition are expected to receive a $1.3 million grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday.

The money comes from an EPA program that works to clean up and redevelop potentially contaminated lands.

Diane Takvorian with the Environmental Health Coalition said part of the money will be used to create healthier neighborhoods for people living in two south bay communities.

"The grant will focus on the areas of Barrio Logan and Old Town National City where we've been really working on trying to end this zoning which allows homes and schools to be right next to toxic polluters," said Takvorian.

She said adopting community plans that require removal or relocation of businesses with significant air pollution from residential areas will help reduce air pollution in Barrio Logan and National City.

Takvorian said $300,000 of the grant will be used to encourage the Port of San Diego to reduce toxic emissions from trucks and ships using port terminals near the two cities.

She said about 1500 diesel trucks go through the communities each day and ships idling in port also create toxic emissions.

Takvorian said retrofitting diesel trucks with filters and adding electric shore power for ships would reduce those emissions.

She said the EPA and two other federal agencies will assist National City in developing a new neighborhood that includes affordable housing and public transportation.

"They have identified old town National City or the Westside, as one of only five sustainable communities for their pilot program around the country," said Takvorian. "So, it's a really big deal."

The money will be distributed by EPA officials at an event Tuesday morning in National City.