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Diesel Emission Bill Approved in Senate

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act is a bipartisan bill which aims to emphasize health benefits through air quality improvements around the country, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, explained. 

Tom Carper is the bill’s sponsor, co-sponsors include Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)

“Since its implementation in 2005, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act has been one of our nation’s most cost-effective tools for reducing harmful diesel emissions,” Carper said July 26.

“Our bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the DERA program for an additional five years, ensuring that it continues to help create good-paying domestic manufacturing jobs while protecting public health and our environment,” Carper noted, adding, “I thank ranking member [Shelley Moore] Capito and our EPW committee colleagues for supporting this common-sense clean air program.”

The DERA program is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency and is thus funded by federal grants. 

“The DERA program is a common-sense example of how we can successfully address emissions using policy carrots instead of regulatory sticks,” Capito added. “As an original sponsor of the last reauthorization of the DERA program, I am proud the EPW committee advanced this effort today, which will help improve air quality and grow our economy at the same time.”

The bill would update the existing program at the authorization level of $100 million per year. This additional funding will be used to facilitate the voluntary replacement or installation of retrofitting on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. 

“The program has upgraded tens of thousands of vehicles and pieces of equipment, and DERA funds have been awarded to projects in every state in the country, in addition to the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa,” per background the committee provided.

“Through fiscal year 2018, EPA estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA funding are 16,800 tons of particulate matter, 491,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, 5.3 million tons of carbon dioxide, and over 11,000 tons of black carbon.”

The American Lung Association has shown strong support for the bill. “Diesel emissions have been dramatically reduced thanks to the bipartisan Diesel Emissions Reduction Act,” 

A statement was paired with the bill’s introduction in June. The statement comes from president and CEO of the American Lung Association, Harold Wimmer.

“But heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses are among the most polluting vehicles on the road and still contribute to over half of the ozone- and particle-forming emissions that are putting the health of communities at risk,” Wimmer said. “We must continue efforts to eliminate the health harms from dirty trucks and buses and the DERA program is a key component of that success.”

“The DERA legislation emphasizes maximizing health benefits, conserving diesel fuel, and serving areas of poor air quality,” from the report, titled: “Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Fifth Report to Congress: Highlights of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program 2008-2018.”

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