The passage of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) earlier this year 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 18 by U.S. Senators George Voinovich (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) and co-sponsored by several of their colleagues including EPW Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK).
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 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.
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.
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 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. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.