Statements and Speeches

Energy Policy Act of 2005 (diesel)

Statement in the Congressional Record

Jun 21 2005

Mr. President, I thank the Senator for the leadership he has shown on this particular issue to unite environmental groups and business groups, people from the Republican chairman of our Environment and Public Works Committee, to the junior Senator from New York on our side. It is a remarkable coalition that has been put together in a very short period of time.


With respect to diesel engines, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that diesel engines last a long time. The bad news is that old diesel engines that are still on our highways and roads last a long time. In fact, there are about 11 million of them. While next year our new EPA requirements for lean-burn, clean-burn diesel engines--so-called tier 2 standards--kick in and requirements for lower sulfur content diesel fuel kick in, we have 11 million older diesel vehicles, some of which will be around until 2030 belching out nitrogen oxide.


Half the nitrogen oxide we emit comes from these 11 million diesel engines--school buses, regular buses, boats, locomotives, trucks. That is where half of our nitrogen oxide emissions come from. It causes fog, and the particulates that come out of our diesel engines lead to all kinds of lung diseases in people young and old. That is the bad news.

There is some more good news. The good news is we can do something about it. Senator Voinovich and others said the thing to do is create a partnership with the Federal Government, State government, EPA, and some of the private sector folks to put in place retrofit devices on these older diesel engines to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate, in some cases, by as much as 85 percent.


It is cost effective. The effect will be immediate. We do not have to wait until 2030 until these vehicles are off the road to start cleaning up our engines.


The last thing I will say is good environmental policy can also be good business policy. Companies such as Corning, Cummings, Caterpillar are making these devices and installing these devices, and they will do a whole lot more in the days to come. They will make money, a profit, from doing this. They will create products that can be exported, not jobs but products that can be exported to other parts of the world.


We will have cleaner air and, frankly, a stronger economy. That is a great win-win situation for all of us. I am delighted Senator Voinovich proposed this. I am delighted to join him as a principal sponsor on our side and anxious to get this vote recorded.


My hope is that maybe we can actually pass this unanimously. That would be a wonderful thing for our country and a good thing for this bill. I thank my friend from Ohio for yielding this time and providing such terrific leadership.