Sens. Carper and Voinovich Introduce Bill to Continue Diesel Emissions Reduction

19 Senate Colleagues Support Reauthorization of DERA during Lame-Duck Session

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), chairman and senior member of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, today introduced the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 (DERA). 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 original DERA legislation authored by Sens. Voinovich and Carper enjoyed strong bipartisan support; passing by a vote of 92 to 1 on the Senate floor, it was included in the final version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.


Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, are co-sponsors of the bill along with 17 other senators. A uniquely broad coalition of 539 environmental, science-based, public health, industry, labor and state and local government groups support a reauthorization of DERA during the lame-duck session. Its current authorization expires in fiscal year 2011.


"Promoting common sense, cost-effective policies to improve the environment and protect public health is a vital part of my legacy of public service," Sen. Voinovich said. "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. 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 hope to have the opportunity to vote on its reauthorization before I leave the Senate at the end of this Congress."


"My colleagues and I were sent 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. 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 have voiced their support for reauthorization of DERA. I’m proud to join my good friend and colleague Sen. Voinovich in the effort to reauthorize this common-sense approach to creating jobs and cleaning up our nation’s air." 


"As an original cosponsor of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, I have seen firsthand the economic and public health benefits of this voluntary program in my state of Oklahoma," Sen. Inhofe said. "This reauthorization keeps the 2005 levels in place but builds on the success of this targeted and cost- effective initiative. With the EPA preparing to make national ozone and particulate matter standards more stringent, local communities will need every tool possible to comply with them. This program is one of many that will help them reach that goal."   


"I am pleased join Senators Voinovich, Carper and Inhofe in supporting this legislation to strengthen efforts to reduce pollution from diesel engines," Sen. Boxer said. "Diesel exhaust contributes to pollution that threatens the health of millions of people in California. We have a responsibility to do all we can to protect children and their families from the toxic soot and other dangerous substances in diesel exhaust that contribute to asthma, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses." 


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked diesel emissions to premature death, aggravation of symptoms associated with asthma, and numerous other health impacts every year.  The agency estimates there are 11 million diesel engines in America lacking the latest pollution control technology. Retrofitting diesel engines provides enormous environmental benefits, yet there are few direct economic incentives for vehicle and equipment owners to do so. The financial incentives provided by DERA support voluntary rather than regulatory efforts to protect public health and help states meet EPA air quality standards..


In addition to Sens. Boxer and Inhofe, DERA 2010 is co-sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).