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Proven Benefits, Continued Need for Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)

1207 Days ago

Bipartisan, Cost-effective Innovative Clean Air Program Reduces Emissions in Local Communities

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing concerning the reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), the Diesel Technology Forum submitted a formal statement to the Hearing’s record, highlighting the effectiveness of the program and its ability to deliver benefits to local communities across the country.

“Senators would be hard-pressed to find another environmental program that has enjoyed such bipartisan support or that has been as cost-effective while bringing innovative clean air and public health benefits to communities across the country,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Forum. “We believe these factors will be compelling as the Senate evaluates reauthorization and funding levels for the coming year.”

Click here to download a copy of the Forum’s full statement.

The DERA program passed the Senate by a 92 to 1 vote in 2005, by unanimous consent twice since then in the Senate, and by voice vote in the House in 2010. Past solicitations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for DERA program funding have consistently been oversubscribed, reflecting a high level of ongoing interest and demand from states and local communities. The DERA program is currently authorized to receive $100 million annually.

Schaeffer continued: “Another measure of DERA’s success has been its ability to consistently bring together a broad and diverse coalition of stakeholders representing regulators, engine, vehicle, equipment manufacturers, emissions control technology companies and environmental and public health groups; not just at the federal level but in regional collaboratives and local groups around the country working together to improve air quality.

“For its part, the EPA has been an effective administrator of this program, establishing a competitive process for funding awards, making awards based on quantitative criteria and need, across a range of fuel, vehicle and equipment types in every state and tribal nations, while also monitoring the effective implementation of projects. Like many others, we anxiously await EPA’s 4th Report to Congress, which we believe will be an important consideration for Senators; this report is expected to underscore the substantial cost-effectiveness of the program, and its consistent ability to deliver important reductions in criteria emissions (nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM)) that contribute to clean air attainment. DERA-funded projects also have many co-benefits for both society and project participants in the form of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, fuel savings, and greater economic productivity.

Most of the DERA program benefits have occurred through replacing, repowering or retrofitting older generations of technology with the newest generation of clean diesel power which virtually eliminates PM and NOx emissions. DERA has funded a wide range of projects such as upgrading school buses and repowering locomotives, passenger ferries and construction machines, all to operate with substantially lower emissions in communities in which they serve.

“The program has delivered significant emission reduction benefits to communities all across the country,” said Schaeffer. “To highlight just a few examples from the last year:

  • Wyoming was awarded DERA funding to replace older engines and equipment in the off-road sector;
  • Oklahoma was awarded a DERA grant to replace 180 older school buses with newer models;
  • In Delaware, the Delaware River and Bay Authority was awarded a DERA grant to replace older engines that power a ferry with new clean diesel models; and
  • In Utah, a DERA grant recently helped replace 83 larger and older commercial vehicles.

“While funding has been appropriated for DERA activities since 2008, there is still continuing need for the program, to address the many older vehicles, engines and equipment still operating today, and likely for years to come. For example, in the trucking sector, 36 percent of all large trucks are of the newest generation of near-zero emissions performance, meaning that 64 percent are of an older generation of technology. Substantial opportunities for emissions improvements still exist in communities all around the country.

“The newest generation of clean diesel technology is now deployed across all ranges and types of new diesel-powered vehicles, equipment and machines. Many of these innovations are manufactured here in the United States. In 2017, nearly 900,000 heavy-duty diesel engines were manufactured in facilities located in 13 states. North Carolina is the leading state for the manufacture of heavy-duty diesel engines with 327,500 rolling off assembly lines in the state. Getting more of these newer generation engines in service will deliver immediate air quality benefits.”

DERA Fast Facts

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates approximately $12.6 billion in health benefits have been gained from the investment of $700 million in DERA in the past 10 years. 
  • To date, more than 73,000 vehicles, engines and pieces of equipment have been replaced or retrofitted thanks to the DERA program.
  • Every dollar from the DERA program that is invested in diesel retrofits and replacements yields at least $13 in environmental and public health benefits.
  • The program has saved more than 450 million gallons of fuel, and reduced 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM) and 335,200 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOX). The program achieves these benefits by requiring significant non-federal matching funds for projects seeking funding.

A jointly funded government and industry research effort known as the Advanced Combustion Emissions Study (ACES), carried out through the Health Effects Institute and Coordinating Research Council, evaluated the performance of the latest generation (2011 and newer) of clean diesel technology used in the largest commercial (Class 8) trucks. Phase 1 of that study determined that fine particle emissions generated from these truck engines were lower than the EPA standard, while the second phase of the research determined that there were no adverse health outcomes due to exposure from the exhaust from these engines. Beginning in 2014, similar reductions in PM and NOx emissions have been achieved in the wide range of off-road engines that power everything from small construction equipment and farm machinery to freight locomotives, marine vessels and work boats. 

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About The Diesel Technology ForumThe Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit 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 http://www.dieselforum.org.


Sarah Dirndorfer
Diesel Technology Forum

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