Sen. Carper Bill Removes Roadblock to Important Clean Air Project

Bipartisan Legislation Preserves Vital Diesel Retrofit Program

Sen. Carper (D-Del.) today introduced legislation that would allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue the practice of funding clean diesel projects as parts of environmental enforcement settlements. 
This successful program has funded more than $60 million in diesel retrofit vehicles over the past few years. Under EPA’s estimates, diesel retrofit projects have a 13-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio, meaning the $60 million has resulted in $780 million in health benefits ranging from reduced asthma cases to fewer cardiopulmonary deaths.
In 2005, Sen. Carper joined with Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) to introduce and ultimately enact the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). Designed to reduce emissions from the 11 million existing vehicle diesel engines, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act established voluntary national and state grant and loan programs to reduce diesel emissions.
In 2006, the EPA determined that if the agency receives a specific appropriation for DERA’s grant program, the EPA may not allow diesel projects as part of an enforcement settlement. The Carper bill will give the EPA authority to continue to fund diesel retrofits through this program. 
“For years, I have pushed to clean up our nation’s diesel vehicles,” said Sen. Carper. “These diesel retrofit projects are extremely successful when it comes to keeping our air clean and breathable. This legislation will give the EPA the additional authority needed to continue to reduce air pollution from diesel engines.”
Sens. Clinton and Voinovich have again joined Sen. Carper as cosponsors of this important environmental legislation. Additionally, a coalition of 250 environmental, science-based, public health, industry, and state and local governmental groups sent a letter to President Bush this week urging the President to work with Congress to clarify that the EPA should continue to fund diesel retrofit projects as part of enforcement settlements.