Senate committee OKs Diesel Emissions Reduction Act reauthorization

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The passage of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 30, was hailed by the Diesel Technology Forum 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, DTF executive director.

DERA (S. 3973) is a five-year reauthorization of the 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 Nov. 18 by U.S. Sens George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) and cosponsored by several of their colleagues, including EPW Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

“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 says. “DERA has helped clean up tens of thousands of diesel engines.”

Schaeffer says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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,” he says. “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.

Schaeffer says a diverse coalition of more than 500 environmental, health, industry, labor and government organizations are working actively 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,” he says.