Sen. Carper Urges Funding To Reduce Harmful Diesel Pollution

Chairman of Clean Air Subcommittee Stresses Health, Economic, Environmental Benefits

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) yesterday sent a letter urging congressional leaders to fully fund a program to reduce dirty diesel emissions, which contributes to health problems and global warming. Funding for this program, when included in a fiscal stimulus package early next year, will not only protect human health, but will also create much needed jobs for our economy.

In 2005, Sens. Carper and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) pushed to include funding for the installation of retrofits on existing diesel engines in trucks, trains, and ships in the Energy Policy Act authorized. This legislation, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), was aimed at reducing harmful emissions by as much as 90 percent. Unfortunately, DERA was authorized for $600 million, but to date, congressional appropriators have only allocated $50 million.

If an upcoming stimulus bill included the remaining $550 million for DERA, Sen. Carper said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could use the funds to leverage state and private resources, generating more than $1 billion in additional investments in retrofit equipment. This in turn would save or create more than 19,000 jobs, generating more than $3 billion in additional economic impact. 

As Chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, Sen. Carper has stressed that retrofitting diesel engines is not only an economic stimulus, but also an important step to cleaning our nation’s air and protecting our health. EPA estimates there are 11 million diesel engines in America lacking the latest pollution control technology. Together, these engines produce more than 1,000 tons of particulate matter every day, pollution that is linked to 21,000 premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, millions of lost work days and numerous other health impacts every year. 

Diesel emissions are not only dangerous to human health, but are also a key contributor to black carbon, which is thought to be a global warming agent.