Congressional Support for Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Highlights Importance of Continued Funding for Successful Program
11 Million Older Diesel Engines and Equipment Could Benefit From DERA’s Clean Air Modernization and Upgrades
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The strong public support voiced by U.S. Senate and House leaders to restore funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) at Congressional hearings highlights the bipartisan and bicameral support for the successful clean air program, said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“The strong statements of support for DERA’s funding by Congressional leaders like Chairman Tom Carper, Ranking Member James Inhofe and Chairman Mike Simpson reflect the importance of the program to cleaning our air and improving the environment,” Schaeffer said.
“We fully understand Congress has a difficult and important mission in its effort to reduce federal spending and the national debt. DERA has already been part of this budget cutting process. During the recent reauthorization approval, DERA’s funding authorization was reduced by 50 percent over the previous five years even though grant applications exceeded funding by a 7 to 1 margin in recent years. In addition, program applicants have offered to provide more than $2 billion in matching funds for the program.
“DERA is also one of the most successful clean air programs in existence. EPA states DERA returns a minimum of $13 for every $1 invested and by some estimates, as high as $20 for every $1 invested through environmental and public health benefits.”
The landmark DERA grant program was originally authorized for five years as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to fund upgrades and modernize the oldest, most polluting diesel engines, complementing the stringent emissions standards EPA set for new diesel engines beginning in 2007.
Because of its success and cost-effectiveness, DERA was reauthorized by Congress for five more years and signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. But six weeks later, DERA was not funded in the President’s 2012 budget proposal on February 14, 2011, which terminated the program.
DERA’s diverse coalition of public, private and non-governmental organizations that worked successfully to gain Congressional reauthorization of DERA during the lame duck session has been focusing its effort on restoring funding for the highly successful program.
OMB’s Termination Language for DERA Is Based On Faulty Assumptions & Inaccuracies
“One of the most puzzling aspects of this process is the termination language for DERA in the President’s budget request,” Schaeffer said. “The statements that DERA has achieved its short term objective of removing or retrofitting the dirtiest diesel engines in use is based on faulty assumptions and inaccurate information.
“While OMB’s termination language acknowledged DERA’s effectiveness in producing ‘tangible reductions in NOx and PM emissions,’ OMB’s projections of older diesel fleet turnover are not accurate.”
There are an estimated 11 million existing older diesel engines and equipment that do not have the more recent clean diesel technology which has reduced emissions by 97 percent. As of 2011, DERA has funded the replacement or retrofit of approximately 50,000 engines.
“There is no question that the number of engines retrofitted or replaced to date represent only the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be accomplished,” Schaeffer said. “A major problem in increasing the use of the new technology is the economic downturn has increased the average fleet age for highway and off-road vehicles alike, creating more need for DERA funding, not less as OMB states.”
Congressional Leaders State Support for Restoring DERA’s Funding
“Funding DERA Is A No Brainer . . .”
“While I understand that the President’s budget requires many unpopular, tough cuts, I do not understand cutting DERA, which has shown a consistent high return on its investment, for every $1 invested, we get over $13 in health and economic benefits in return. Funding DERA is a no brainer and I will work with the Administration and my colleagues to find ways to fund this effective program.”
- U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee (March 2, 2011)
“This Is Irresponsible . . .”
“When it comes to real pollution, such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, EPA’s budget falls short. For example, it eliminates funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, or DERA. This is a program with bipartisan support–from me, Chairman Boxer, Sen. Carper, and others–that we passed last year. It would help reduce real pollutants, but EPA has decided to spend elsewhere. This is irresponsible and, if followed, bad for public health.”
- U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee (March 2, 2011)
Schaeffer Optimistic About DERA’s Future
“As we move forward with DERA’s important mission we are optimistic that funding will be restored by Congress on a bipartisan basis,” Schaeffer said. “We also will be supportive of EPA’s expanded oversight process of the grants as proposed by EPA’s Inspector General. Accountability is vital for all government programs and we think EPA’s new oversights will make an excellent program like DERA even more successful.”
For additional information, see the Diesel Technology Forum’s DERA FAQ document.
ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.
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SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum