US Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) introduced bi-partisan legislation that will provide some $1 billion to support the reduction of emissions from existing diesel engines through retrofits and other programs. Such legislation would complement the pending EPA Clean Diesel regulations for new engines to reduce the emissions profile of the entire diesel fleet, old and new.
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2005 (DERA), cosponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), will distribute more than $1 billion over 5 years to establish voluntary national grant and loan programs for diesel emission reduction projects and programs.
EPA has designated 495 counties nationally as in nonattainment for the new ozone and/or particulate matter air quality standards. (Maps to right. Click to enlarge.) DERA is designed to help states and communities meet these standards. The legislation:
Authorizes $1 billion over 5 years ($200 million annually).
Provides that 70% of the funds are distributed by EPA.
Allocates 20% of funds to states to develop retrofit programs with an additional 10% available as an incentive for states to match the federal dollars being provided.
Establishes priority areas for projects—such as those that are more cost-effective and affect the most amount of people—and focuses the federal program on public fleets.
Includes provisions to help develop new technologies, encourage more action through non-financial incentives, and require EPA to outreach to stakeholders and report on the success of the program.
A range of national and regional environmental groups (Environmental Defense, UCS, Clean Air Task Force to name a few), businesses and trade associations (Caterpillar, Cummins, Engine Manufacturers Association, Associated General Contractors of America) support the bill.