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April 20, 2016 | Diesel Technology Forum
Washington, D.C. – Legislation to reauthorize the bipartisan and highly effective clean air program that reduces emissions from older diesel powered equipment like school buses, trucks, and construction equipment has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The legislation would reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) through 2021. It was introduced by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and includes Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) as original cosponsors.
“We applaud the leadership of Sens. Carper, Inhofe, Boxer and Capito, working on a bipartisan basis to build on the substantial and proven results of the program and to ensure that this highly successful effort can continue to contribute to improving air quality in communities throughout the nation,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
The DERA program helps reduce emissions from older diesel powered vehicles and equipment by providing incentive funding through a competitive process for equipment owners and operators toward the purchase of new technology engines, approved emission controls or retrofit devices to reduce emissions, or total engine replacements.
“While new diesel technology and fuels have achieved near zero emission levels, DERA is the leading program that upgrades or replaces older diesel engines with newer technology to reduce emissions. Clean air for our communities is not a partisan issue and the fact that Democratic and Republican leaders are working together on this important environmental program is a welcome development to the hundreds of environmental, health, industry and clean air agencies who support DERA and its important mission,” Schaeffer said.
Since its creation in 2005, DERA has been consistently supported by a bipartisan coalition of several hundred organizations including the American Lung Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists and National School Transportation Association. These groups continue to work together in educating Congress about these benefits and the importance of continued funding for the program.
The Diesel Emission Reduction Act has been one of the most successful clean air programs in recent years, Schaeffer said. According to a new report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March 2016, more than 73,000 older diesel powered engines were upgraded or replaced between 2008 to 2013 because of DERA funding, which resulted in major clean air benefits and fuel savings.
According to the report, funding provided by DERA between 2008 and 2013:
• Retrofitted or replaced 73,000 vehicles and equipment
• Reduced particulate matter emissions by 14,700 tons
• Saved 450 million gallons of fuel and
• Generated almost $13 billion in environmental benefits.
“These benefits are tangible and show that DERA is benefiting communities in all 50 states with improved air quality,” Schaeffer said. “State and local clean air regulators have relied on DERA funding as a key tool to help move communities toward compliance as new and more stringent clean air requirements for ozone and particulate matter are set to take effect.”
DERA provides $1 in federal assistance to attract $3 in non-federal matching funds to generate, on average, $13 in environmental and health benefits by helping the owners of older diesel vehicles and equipment retrofit, repower or replace with clean diesel technologies.
“The federal share of DERA funding represents a small share of the total cost of each project to encourage owners to retrofit or replace with new clean technologies,” Schaeffer said.
Despite this success, the need for DERA’s incentive funding still exists. According to the report, 10.3 million older diesel engines are still in use across the country and over one million of these engines will remain in use by 2030.
“In addition, DERA funding is extremely competitive,” Schaeffer said. “The grant program has perpetually been oversubscribed with applications exceeding available funding by a 35-to-1 ratio.”
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