U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) has introduced a bill to extend the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) through 2021 to continue to provide grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions from older diesel-powered trucks and equipment.
The act, which was first passed in 2005, was first renewed in 2010. It's set to expire this year, and has provided about $30 million a year in EPA-administered federal grants. Carper introduced the renewal bill April 20 that includes co-sponsors Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
"Retrofitting older, diesel engines with American-made technology can provide enormous environmental and public health benefits, while creating jobs here at home," Carper said. "This program continues to be a bipartisan, commonsense approach to curbing toxic diesel emissions, promoting public health, and spurring economic growth."
The DERA program helps reduce emissions from older diesel powered vehicles and equipment by providing incentive funding through a competitive process for equipment owners and operators toward the purchase of new technology engines, approved emission controls or retrofit devices to reduce emissions, or total engine replacements.
"While new diesel technology and fuels have achieved near zero emission levels, DERA is the leading program that upgrades or replaces older diesel engines with newer technology to reduce emissions," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
According to a new report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March, more than 73,000 older diesel powered engines were upgraded or replaced between 2008 to 2013 with DERA funding, which resulted in clean air benefits and fuel savings.
The DERA funding retrofitted or replaced 73,000 vehicles and equipment; reduced particulate matter emissions by 14,700 tons; saved 450 million gallons of fuel; and generated almost $13 billion in environmental benefits, according to the report. The program awarded $520 million in grants.
“The federal share of DERA funding represents a small share of the total cost of each project to encourage owners to retrofit or replace with new clean technologies,” Schaeffer said.