Passage of Diesel Emission Reduction Act applauded

More than 500 environmental, health, industry and government organization endorse re-authorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).


The passage of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) is being hailed as a major step in continuing a clean air program that has provided great benefits.

DERA is a five-year re-authorization 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).

DERA has helped clean up tens of thousands of diesel engines. It’s cost-effective—EPA estimates that every federal dollar invested in DERA translates into at least 13 dollars in health benefits. 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 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.

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