WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves, and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and member of the EPW Committee, released the following statements after the Senate voted to approve the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2019 (DERA) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The DERA amendment included in the annual defense spending bill would reauthorize the popular, cost effective clean air DERA program that helps finance the replacement of older diesel engines with cleaner, American-made technology. The amendment reauthorizes the program through fiscal year 2024 at its current funding levels and ensures equal funding opportunities between both metropolitan centers and less populated, rural areas across the country.
“For almost 15 years now, federal money administered through the DERA program have replaced dirty, old, inefficient diesel engines with cleaner, American-made technology. DERA effectively reduces the air pollution that hurts our lungs and harms the planet, creating American jobs and a healthier environment. DERA also helps our nation reduce our dependence on oil. Cleaning up dirty diesel engines will create cleaner air and more economic opportunity at time when Americans – not just those serving in our military – need it most,” said Senator Carper.
“Oklahoma has successfully used the DERA program as a cost effective way to reduce pollution of diesel powered vehicles, including hundreds of school buses, through public-private partnerships, making it possible for businesses to voluntarily upgrade to new, efficient technology while creating jobs,” Senator Inhofe said. “I’m proud this bipartisan legislation was included in the NDAA today.”
DERA, first established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, was originally co-authored by Senator Carper and the late Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio). The DERA program is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and distributes federal grants, rebates and loans to leverage state and other non-federal funding to finance the voluntary replacement or installation of retrofits on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. By replacing or upgrading older diesel engines with newer American-made technology, the DERA program will continue to dramatically reduce diesel emissions, which protects public health and creates jobs.
According to the EPA’s latest report, each federal dollar invested in DERA has leveraged as much as $3 from other government agencies, private organizations, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Over the lifetime of the program, tens of thousands of vehicles and pieces of equipment have been retrofitted with new technology or replaced across every state in the country. Through Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the EPA estimates that total lifetime pollution emission reductions achieved through the DERA program include 15,490 tons of particulate matter, 472,700 tons of NOX, 5 million tons of carbon dioxide, and 11,620 tons of black carbon, resulting in up to $19 billion in monetized health benefits. At the same time, DERA has resulted in 454 million gallons of fuel saved. The most recent DERA reauthorization passed unanimously in the Senate and by voice vote in the House in 2010.
The amendment was introduced by Senator Carper and EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).