Several transportation and emissions control associations and companies have sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt concerning their continued support for the highly-successful Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and are requesting that the program be included in the Administration’s budget outline to be released later this month.
DERA is widely considered one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs and EPA estimates approximately $12.6B in health benefits from an investment of $700M in DERA in the past 10 years. DERA has also has continually received overwhelming bi-partisan Congressional support.
EPA has requested a 25 percent cut in funding and the Agency needs to identify cuts or elimination in programs to meet the target. DERA was a program identified in OMB’s passback to EPA and the organizations signing this letter are requesting DERA funding be included in the final budget.
(Text of the letter)
March 3, 2017
Office of the Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
We want to congratulate you on your confirmation and your commitment to protecting air and water quality, which you noted during your confirmation hearings. As you develop your goals for the agency, we wanted to highlight a voluntary program that supports domestic jobs while helping to clean the air. The Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program helps speed the adoption of highly cost-effective and efficient domestically produced emission control technologies for the legacy fleet of diesel engines that currently do not meet the most recent emission control standards. Through this valuable program, older diesel powered vehicles and equipment can be retrofit with new, more effective emission control technologies or retired and replaced with equipment that can greatly accelerate progress in cleaning our air. We respectfully request your continued support for the DERA program as an important part of the Administration’s support for practical, effective and voluntary programs that improve the nation’s health and environment.
Authored originally by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), DERA provides funding to encourage adoption of technologies to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles and equipment by as much as 90 percent. DERA has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support including passing 92 to 1 in 2005 and by unanimous consent twice since then in the Senate and by voice vote in the House in 2010.
Since implementation, DERA has become one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs. It earned the strong support of the Bush Administration, which requested funding for the program in each year’s budget requests after the program was authorized and was the only EPA program for which all regions sought additional funding. It is a completely voluntary, merit-based, and cost-effective program. 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 $7 to $18 in health and economic benefits. Every state benefits because 30 percent of the funding goes to support state programs that each state has established. The program has adopted many cost-saving administrative practices, such as the inclusion of a rebate program applicable to school buses and construction equipment that increases the delivery of program funds with minimum red tape. The program effectively cleans our air and supports domestic employment in innovative industries while also helping businesses invest in new and efficient technologies.
EPA’s most recent estimates indicate that the program has upgraded nearly 73,000 vehicles or pieces of equipment while saving over 450 million gallons of fuel. The agency estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA funding are 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM) and 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) which EPA estimates equates to approximately $12.6B in health benefits – all this for an investment of only $700M over the ten-year life of the program. The program helps to improve air quality and upgrade equipment and vehicles at our nation’s schools, construction sites, highways, railyards and ports.
This DERA program continues to be needed because of the long-lived nature of diesel engines. We estimate that almost three out of five diesel trucks and buses on the road today are more than ten years old and emit much higher levels of emissions than the vehicles using today’s technology. Without a program like DERA, these older vehicles will stay on the road until they wear out, increasing emissions that could be significantly reduced if replaced with newer technology. DERA provides state and local air agencies and the Federal government with effective tools to allow communities struggling with deteriorated air quality to meet today’s tougher standards. The program also supports job growth and industry stability using technology invented in the U.S. and manufactured at almost entirely U.S factories. This is technology that was pioneered by some of the best U.S. companies, companies that sell this technology to the rest of the world. Our broad and diverse group of stakeholders ask for your support and your leadership with Congress to ensure the program’s continued success.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and your support for action to continue this important program.
American Association of Port Authorities
American Highway Users Alliance
American Trucking Associations
Associated General Contractors of America
Association of American Railroads
Emissions Control Technology Association
Diesel Technology Forum
Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association
National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services
National School Transportation Association
Thomas Built Buses
Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association
Umicore Autocat, Inc.
United Motorcoach Association
Volvo Group North America
SOURCE: Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)