WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, was joined by senior EPW members, including Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), to introduce the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2017. The bill reauthorizes DERA, one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs, through fiscal year 2022 at its current funding levels. The legislation also ensures equal funding opportunities between both large, metropolitan centers and less populated, rural areas across the country.
“Retrofitting older, diesel engines with American-made technology through the DERA program has provided enormous environmental and public health benefits, while creating good jobs here at home. Tens of thousands of diesel engines used to take our kids to school, carry our freight, and move goods in and out of our ports are now cleaner and more efficient because of DERA, resulting in $12.6 billion in health benefits. We must do everything we can to ensure that the American people can continue to reap the benefits of this program that has proven successful for over a decade now,” said Senator Carper. “The DERA program continues to be a bipartisan, commonsense approach to curbing toxic diesel emissions, promoting public health, and spurring economic growth. In fact, since its inception, DERA has been one of the most cost-effective clean air programs with an average of $13 in health and economic benefits for every $1 put into the program. At a time when our country is looking for ways to create jobs, reduce health care costs and clean up the environment, supporting clean diesel through DERA stands out as a prime example of what works. I was proud to join my good friend Senator Voinovich in 2005 when he came to me with the idea for DERA, and I’m proud to continue that bipartisan tradition today with Senator Inhofe, Chairman Barrasso, and Senator Whitehouse. I urge our Senate colleagues to join us in supporting this successful program that is truly a win-win.”
“DERA has upgraded nearly 73,000 diesel-powered vehicles equipment in a voluntary and cost-effective manner, all while creating manufacturing jobs and reducing real risks caused by air pollution,” Senator Inhofe said. “I have been a strong supporter of DERA since it was created 10 years ago and I am pleased to continue my support by once again joining Sen. Carper in introducing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize such an effective program.”
“This bipartisan bill will reauthorize and improve the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act so that it works better for Wyoming and other rural communities,” said Senator Barrasso. “This program is a common sense way to keep our air clean and rural economies growing.”
“Old diesel engines pump out pollution that threatens public health and our environment, and drives climate change. But they can be more efficient and ten times cleaner if we put the latest diesel technology to work. That’s why I’ve joined with Senators Barrasso, Carper, and Inhofe to re-up this program. Our bipartisan bill would help everyone from farmers to truckers to fishermen upgrade their engines and save on fuel, and reduce dangerous pollution in the process. That’s a clear win-win,” said Senator Whitehouse.
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) was first established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and co-authored by Senator Carper and the late Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio). The DERA program is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and uses federal funding – through grants and rebates – to leverage state and other non-federal funding to finance the voluntary replacement or installation of retrofits on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. By replacing or upgrading older diesel engines with newer, American-made technology, the DERA program will continue to dramatically reduce diesel emissions, which protects public health and creates jobs.
According to the EPA’s latest report, each federal dollar invested in DERA has leveraged as much as $3 from other government agencies, private organizations, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Since its implementation, DERA has upgraded nearly 73,000 vehicles or pieces of equipment and saved over 450 million gallons of fuel. The EPA estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA funding are 14,700 tons of PM and 335,200 tons of NOX and have created up to $12.6 billion of health benefits. Due to the program’s success, DERA has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support. The most recent DERA reauthorization passed unanimously in the Senate and by voice vote in the House in 2010.
The Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to mark up the legislation this week. The text of the bill can be found here.