Over 440 Environmental, Health, Industry and Science Organizations Ask Congress to Restore Funding For Important Clean Air Program

Mar 29, 2011, 11:49 ET from Diesel Technology Forum

"Without additional funding, the DERA program, and its environmental, public health, and economic and jobs benefits, will be in jeopardy."

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing its importance as a national environmental, health and budgetary priority, a diverse coalition of 444 organizations this week sent letters to Congressional leaders requesting that funding be restored for the highly-successful clean air program called the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).

"This unique coalition represents local and national organizations that have played a key role in expanding America's clean air policies over the past several years," said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a member of the coalition.  "While we all understand that Congress must make difficult decisions in these tough economic times, the DERA program has proven to be a significant environmental, health and budgetary success throughout the entire United States.

"DERA is a proven and successful program that provides as much as $20 in environmental and health benefits for every $1 spent.  DERA is playing a vital role in a number of clean air projects like cleaning up our children's school buses and reducing emissions in heavily congested regions.  But all these benefits will disappear if funding isn't restored by Congress this year," Schaeffer said.

DERA Has Already Experienced A 50 Percent Cut in Authorization Levels

The DERA program has already been cut by 50 percent from previously authorized levels.  When it was reauthorized in December 2010, DERA's authorization level was cut from $200 million annually for five years to $100 million annually for five years, Schaeffer said.

DERA Reduces Emissions By As Much As 90 Percent

In their letter to Congress, the coalition stated: "Diesel-powered vehicles and equipment play an important role in the nation's economy and are getting cleaner every day.  DERA was designed to reduce emissions from the 20 million existing diesel engines in use today by as much as 90 percent.  The continued need for DERA has been proven."

The 444 organizations include environmental, science-based, public health, industry, labor and state and local government groups.  The letters were sent to:

  • U.S. Rep. Michael Simpson (R-ID), Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment;
  • U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-VA), Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment;
  • U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior
  • U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior

(See the U.S. House and U.S. Senate letters.)

The coalition also stated: "Since enactment in 2005, DERA has been successful from an economic, environmental and public health perspective. The DERA program has been responsible for the creation and retention of local U.S. jobs that involve manufacturing, installation and servicing of emissions related technologies. In a FY 2008 Report to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that for every dollar spent on the DERA program, an average of more than $20 in health benefits are generated. Every state in the nation now has a diesel retrofit program and benefits from DERA funding.

"Without additional funding, the DERA program, and its environmental, public health, and economic and jobs benefits, will be in jeopardy."

DERA Background Information

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.

Read DERA FAQ: "The Past, Present and Future"

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.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Allen Schaeffer

https://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=100525

Contact:
Steve Hansen
shansen@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230 (o)
202-355-3664 (c)

SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum



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