Washington, D.C. - The passage of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) today by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) is being hailed as a major step in continuing "a vital clean air program that has benefited communities in every single state in the nation", according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).
DERA (S. 3973) is a five-year reauthorization of the highly-successful program created in 2005 to establish voluntary national and state-level grant and loan programs to reduce diesel emissions by upgrading and modernizing older diesel engines and equipment. The bipartisan legislation was introduced on November 18th by U.S. Senators George Voinovich (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) and cosponsored by several of their colleagues including EPW Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK).
"Chairwoman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe are to be commended for their bipartisan work on DERA to help modernize older diesel engines and improve America's air quality," Schaeffer said.
"DERA has helped clean up tens of thousands of diesel engines. It's been incredibly cost-effective-EPA estimates that every federal dollar invested in DERA translates into at least 13 dollars in health benefits. This cost effectiveness is actually higher thanks to state and local matches that stretch the federal DERA dollars. DERA funds also support new and existing jobs in clean diesel manufacturing, as well as local jobs in installing and maintaining the new diesel technologies.
DERA Is One of the Few Environmental Issues to Gain Bipartisan Support
"While it's been difficult lately to find environmental issues that have near-universal bipartisan support among Democrats and Republicans, DERA has proven to be one program to do so," Schaeffer said. "In addition, a unique and diverse coalition of more than 500 environmental, health, industry, labor and government organizations are actively working for DERA's reauthorization.
"We are hopeful the full Senate and U.S. House will continue this bipartisan effort and reauthorize DERA during the lame duck session."
DERA Background Information
How Was DERA Created? U.S. Senators Voinovich and Carper authored the original DERA legislation which was approved in 2005 by a 92-1 vote. It was included in the final version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Its current authorization expires in FY 2011.
Why Is DERA Important? DERA funds are used to clean up the nation's older, dirty diesels, by retrofitting or replacing them with new technologies that significantly reduce the soot and emissions from an estimated 11 million of our oldest diesel trucks, buses, and equipment.
Since 2005, the federal government has invested roughly a half-billion dollars through DERA to improve America's air quality by upgrading and modernizing older diesel engines and equipment through engine replacements and retrofits that would include new pollution-cutting filters and catalysts.
Why Are Diesel Upgrades Important? Diesel engines are the workhorses of our nation. They are reliable, efficient, and durable. That's why diesel engines power most of the trucks that deliver our goods, the buses that take us to work and get our kids to school, the farm equipment that harvests our crops, and even the trains and ships that carry containers and other cargo to our cities. Our hospitals, airports and law enforcement rely on diesel generators for emergency power, as do local and regional power companies.
Do Other Programs Reduce Diesel Emissions? Roughly a decade ago, EPA adopted the first of a series of diesel rules that have led to an unprecedented investment in cleaner diesel fuels and pollution control technologies. These rules have taken the sulfur out of diesel fuel, and have included pollution-cutting standards that are reducing emissions from new diesel engines by more than 90 percent.
When all of today's older diesels have been replaced by new models that meet these standards, at least 110,000 tons of particulate matter (or soot) and 2.6 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides will be eliminated from the nation's air.
To put it another way, replacing or retrofitting the nation's older diesels with these newer, cleaner models will be the clean-air equivalent of taking 13 million of today's trucks off the roads.
Today's 2010 clean diesel trucks emit one-sixtieth of the emissions of a truck sold in 1988-a dramatic improvement that is due to advances in clean diesel technology that were developed since the adoption of EPA's diesel rules in 2000.
ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.