U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted overwhelmingly April 10 to advance S. 747, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2019, a bill to reauthorize the popular, cost-effective DERA program that helps finance the replacement of older diesel engines with cleaner, American-made technology.

This legislation would reauthorize DERA through fiscal 2024 at its current funding levels and ensure equal funding opportunities between both metropolitan centers and less populated, rural areas across the country.

Joining Sens. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, and Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, as cosponsors of this legislation are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska; Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York; Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota; and Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.

Carper released a statement after today’s committee vote.

“Year after year, DERA has cost-effectively reduced air pollution and fueled American job creation,” said Carper. “Boasting $13 of health and economic benefits for every $1 of federal investment, it’s no wonder that DERA enjoys such broad, bipartisan support. With today’s vote, we’re one step closer to making sure this bipartisan tradition, imagined and incepted by my dear friend Sen. Voinovich, will continue to boost economic growth and encourage environmental progress. I thank Sens. Inhofe, Barrasso and Whitehouse for their continued leadership on this issue, and I urge its swift passage on the Senate floor.”

DERA, first established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, was co-authored by Carper and the late Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio. The DERA program is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and uses federal funding, distributed through grants and rebates, to leverage state and other nonfederal 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. The program has upgraded tens of thousands of vehicles and pieces of equipment, and DERA funds have been awarded to projects in every state in the country. Through fiscal 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. The most recent DERA reauthorization passed unanimously in the Senate and by voice vote in the House in 2010.

The text of the bill can be found at bit.ly/2Z1DeeW.