U.S. House OKs Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, Dec. 21, approved the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act by a voice vote following the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval on Dec. 16. President Obama is expected to sign the five-year reauthorization into law.

DERA (H.R. 5809) 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 Diesel Technology Forum says DERA is supported by a coalition of more than 500 environmental, health, industry, labor and government organizations.

“Today’s passage of DERA is a significant environmental and political accomplishment for the U.S. Congress,” says Allen Schaeffer, DTF executive director. “The House and Senate have proved that bipartisanship can be attained on major environmental initiatives.”

Schaeffer says passage of the DERA reauthorization will play a major role in the nation’s effort to expand its clean air initiatives. “In its first five years, DERA has proven to be one of the nation’s most successful clean air programs,” he says. “In addition, DERA has provided an average of $20 worth of environmental and health benefits for every $1 spent. That’s a tremendous return on investment for any federal program. The bipartisan action by the House and Senate will benefit communities in every state in the nation.”

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 Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.). The House sponsors were U.S. Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Laura Richardson (D-Calif.).