Bipartisan Clean Diesel Bill Reauthorization Unanimously Passed by the Senate

Major Victory for Clean Air Efforts; Bill Goes to House for Consideration

WASHINGTON – Today,  Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), chairman and senior member of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, celebrated the Senate’s approval of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 (DERA). Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also co-sponsored the legislation along with 29 other senators. The bill is a five-year reauthorization of their popular 2005 legislation that established a voluntary national and state-level grant and loan program to reduce diesel emissions. The bipartisan bill passed unanimously as part of H.R. 5809 and now goes to the House for consideration.


If enacted, the DERA Reauthorization would continue to fund the modernization of the old diesel fleet in the United States by providing cleaner, more efficient diesel retrofits. Every year, DERA helps clean up more than 14,000 diesel-powered vehicles and equipment across the country, which has reduced emissions while employing thousands of workers who manufacture, sell or repair diesel vehicles and their components in each state. This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by 33 senators, extends the program by five years. It is supported by a broad coalition of more than 530 environmental, public, industry and labor groups. 


DERA is considered one of the most cost-effective federal programs, averaging more than $13 in health and economic benefits for every $1 in funding. Since funding started in 2007, pollution reductions from DERA to date will save up to 2000 lives by 2017 and has funded more than 3,000 projects nation-wide, impacting thousands of vehicles and engines. Additionally, this legislation will be able to help clean the air for the over 18,000 children in Delaware with asthma currently living in areas of poor air quality.    


"The people of Delaware sent me to Washington to find ideas that will work, ideas we can all agree on to make our country even better," said Sen. Carper, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on clean air. "An idea that works is the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act or DERA, a bipartisan, common-sense bill that I have co-authored with my friend Sen. George Voinovich.  By cleaning up old diesel engines – like those on the school buses that take our children to school every day – DERA saves lives and creates a demand for clean diesel technology, which in turn creates American jobs. DERA leverages federal dollars so efficiently that for every $1 invested, we get $13 in health and economic benefits in return. This program is a huge success, which is why a diverse coalition of over 530 state and local governments, industry groups, labor and environmental organizations from Delaware and all over the country have voiced their support for reauthorization of DERA. I’m proud my colleagues in the Senate joined us in the effort to reauthorize this common-sense approach to creating jobs and cleaning up Delaware’s and the rest of our nation’s air. I will work with my colleagues in the House to ensure its swift and necessary passage." 


"In 2005, I was proud to join my friend Tom Carper in authoring the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which enjoyed such broad support it was passed into law a mere 45 days after its introduction," said Sen. Voinovich. "The DERA program is one of the best actions our government has taken to improve air quality and help states and localities meet air quality standards. The reauthorization of DERA promotes sound environmental and economic policy, and I am so proud the Senate passed its reauthorization before I leave Washington at the end of this Congress. Promoting common sense, cost-effective policies to improve the environment and protect public health is a vital part of my legacy of public service."


"I joined Senators Voinovich, Carper and Inhofe in supporting the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, and I am pleased that the Senate has acted today to pass this important legislation," Sen. Boxer said. "Diesel exhaust contributes to pollution that threatens the health of millions of people in California.  Today’s action is a step forward for protecting our children and families from the toxic soot and other dangerous substances in diesel exhaust that contribute to asthma, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses."


"As I’ve noted, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) is a model of bipartisan legislation, as it strikes the appropriate balance between continuing the nation’s, and Oklahoma’s, success in reducing emissions without putting jobs and small businesses at risk," said Sen. Inhofe. "Also, this bill reduces DERA’s 2005 authorization levels, which means it’s fiscally sound. It was a pleasure to work on this bill with Senators Carper, Voinovich, and Boxer. I hope DERA will lead to similar accomplishments on other major environmental issues that we will face in the coming months."