Congressional Budget Legislation Boosts Funding For Successful Clean Air Program

Bill would increase funding for diesel emissions reduction act by 50% over last year’s budget

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The federal budget package approved by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate includes a 50% increase in funding for a highly effective clean air program that reduces emissions from older diesel powered engines, vehicles and equipment, according to the Diesel Technology Forum.

Funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) under the current funding package will increase from $20 million to $30 million if signed into law by President Obama.

“The Diesel Emission Reduction Act has been one of the most successful clean air programs in recent years,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “While there was significant debate over several other provisions in the legislation, the support for the DERA program was widespread and bipartisan.”

The DERA program helps the owners of older diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with the purchase of a new technology engines, approved emission controls or retrofit devices to reduce emissions, and total engine replacements. DERA funding made available since 2008 has reduced emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a smog-forming compound, by 203,000 tons, emissions of particulate matter (PM) by 12,500 tons, and carbon emissions by 2.3 million tons, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Every $1 in federal assistance under the DERA program has been coupled with another $3 in non-federal matching funds to generate significant air quality improvements,” Schaeffer said. “EPA estimates that for every $1 in DERA funding there is another $13 in environmental, health and economic benefits.

“Congress deserves a lot of credit for preserving the DERA program,” Schaeffer said.  “It was due to the leadership of U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and U.S. Representatives Ken Calvert (R-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that DERA was funded in the budget package. These Congressional leaders and their colleagues deserve our thanks for this bipartisan effort to secure greater funding to provide clean air benefits throughout the U.S. with advanced clean diesel technology.”