WASHINGTON – The United Motorcoach Association has joined a coalition of manufacturers, transportation associations and clean air and health advocates in urging Congress to oppose the removal of funding from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).
The coalition sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives asking them to defeat an amendment that was to be offered to the House Interior-Environmental Protection Agency appropriations bill (H.R. 3354) to end funding for the DERA program.
The amendment subsequently was withheld, a victory for the coalition. DERA funding probably won’t be resolved until later this year.
DERA is widely considered one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs, with $700 million in funding resulting in an estimated $12.6 billion in health benefits over the past decade.
According to the coalition letter, DERA grants and rebates to incentivize equipment and vehicle owners to install retrofit technologies on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines, or replace engines and equipment, has reduced emissions by as much as 90 percent.
Here is the text of the letter, signed by 44 groups:
As part of a uniquely broad coalition of interests, we want to express our support for continued funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program contained in the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354) as well as the defeat of the amendment by Representative Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) to strike all funding for the program in the bill.
DERA is up for reauthorization and there is a bipartisan bill (H.R. 3107) introduced by Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) to reauthorize the program through FY 2022 with no changes to the existing program. Because vast opportunities remain to reduce diesel emissions through the DERA program, we respectfully request that you vote no on the Palmer amendment and allow for continued funding for this extremely effective program.
DERA provides grants and rebates to incentivize equipment and vehicle owners to install retrofit technologies on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines, or replace engines and equipment, reducing emissions by as much as 90 percent.
EPA’s most recent estimates indicate that the program has upgraded nearly 73,000 vehicles or pieces of equipment and saved over 450 million gallons of fuel. EPA estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA funding are 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM) and 335,200 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOX). These reductions have created up to $12.6 billion in health benefits. The program helps to improve air quality at the nation’s schools, construction sites, highways, rail yards and ports.
The program is voluntary and has adopted many cost-saving administrative practices, such as the inclusion of a rebate program applicable to school buses and construction equipment that speeds the delivery of program funds with a minimum amount of red tape.
The program effectively cleans our air and underpins employment in innovative industries.
Since implementation, DERA has become one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs and enjoyed support in both the Bush and Obama Administrations. EPA estimates every $1 in federal assistance is met with another $3 in non-federal matching funds, including significant investments from the private sector, and generates $5 to $21 in health and economic benefits. Every state benefits because 30 percent of the funding goes to support individual state programs.
The program was first enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as a Senate floor amendment authored by former governors, Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and approved 92 to 1. DERA provides funding to incentivize equipment and vehicle owners to install retrofit technologies on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines, or replace engines and equipment, reducing emissions by as much as 90 percent.
DERA has continued to enjoy broad bipartisan support. In 2010, the Senate approved DERA reauthorization unanimously and the House approved the measure by voice vote. Last year, the Senate approved DERA reauthorization by voice vote as an amendment to the Senate comprehensive energy bill, S. 2012, but the conference with the House stalled on other issues and the bill did not become law.
The DERA program is still needed to help speed adoption of highly cost-effective emission control technologies for the millions of diesel vehicles which do not meet the most recent emission control standards. We urge all Members to oppose the Palmer amendment and to work to continue this important and highly effective program. Thank you for your consideration.
Advance Engine Systems Institute • Alabama State Port Authority • American Association of Port Authorities • American Association of Railroads • American Highway Users Alliance • American Lung Association • American Power Group • American Trucking Associations • Associated General Contractors • Baltimore City Public Schools • Caterpillar Inc. • Clean Air Task Force • Connecticut Operators of School Transportation Association • Corning Incorporated • Cummins Inc. • Diesel Technology Forum • EDF Action • Emission Control Technology Association • IC Bus • Indiana State School Bus Drivers Association • Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association • Minnesota School Bus Operators Association • NAFA Fleet Management Association • National Association of Clean Air Agencies • National Association for Pupil Transportation • National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services • National School Transportation Association • Natural Resources Defense Council • New York School Bus Contractors Association • Pennsylvania School Bus Association • Port of Portland • Port of Seattle • Port of Vancouver, USA • School Transportation Association of Massachusetts • South Coast Air Quality Management District • State of Delaware, Department of Education • The Northwest Seaport Alliance • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey • Thomas Built Buses • Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association • Umicore Autocat, Inc. • United Motorcoach Association • Volvo Group • Wisconsin School Bus Association