The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded nearly $340,000 to the state of Maine to support the state’s efforts to reduce diesel pollution.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, say the money awarded through the EPA’s State Clean Diesel Program will be supplemented by more than $225,000 in state funds.

The money will be used to reduce emissions from older, heavy-duty diesel engines that emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulates, which are linked to asthma, lung damage, and other serious health problems.

The Northeast has some of the nation’s highest asthma rates, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states.