- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house Passed September 9th, 2019Roll Call Vote 295 Yea / 114 Nay
Committee on Energy and CommerceIntroducedMarch 14th, 2019
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 1768?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1768
In-Depth: Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced this legislation to reauthorize the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), a program where emissions-reducing strategies are deployed to promote clean air, ensure healthier communities, and protect the environment:
“This is a critical piece of legislation that helps address the climate crisis and makes our diesel cars and trucks more fuel efficient. We are taking concrete action that will significantly reduce harmful emissions, which will improve the air we breathe and protect public health. It’s critical that Congress puts our environment and health first by passing this bill.”
In a letter to her Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this legislation, Rep. Matsui’s office wrote:
“The DERA program provides diesel emissions reduction retrofits for heavy and light diesel vehicles, ocean-going vessels, locomotives, and non-road equipment. The program’s clean-air strategies are developed by working with manufacturers, fleet operators, air quality professionals, community organizations, and state/local officials to reduce diesel emissions. With school buses alone, harmful emissions can be reduced by 90 percent or more by taking advantage of clean diesel technologies. Because diesel engines can operate for 20 to 30 years, emissions from older, dirtier diesel engines can lead to serious health and environmental consequences. We have been pleased to see the Appropriations Committee’s regular support for DERA, and we believe a $100 million appropriation is necessary to continue to retrofit the millions of diesel engines on our nation’s roadways, rails, and waterways. DERA funds are used to upgrade these engines so that they are cleaner, improving air quality and protecting public health.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) adds:
"I have seen first-hand in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles how more efficient and cleaner diesel vehicles can reduce air pollution. DERA has been essential to that progress. Last year alone we matched a $2.4 million DERA grant from EPA with over $3.3 million in matching funds to replace cargo handling equipment with new, zero-emissions technology to help meet our ports’ Clean Air Action Plan. This legislation will build on that progress and ensure a cleaner future for our communities."
Sen. Tom Carper, sponsor of this bill’s Senate companion, says:
“DERA effectively uses American-made technology to reduce air pollution that harms our lungs and our climate — creating American jobs and a healthier environment. The program is so successful, every dollar invested in DERA generates a 13-fold return in health and economic benefits.”
The DERA Coalition supports this legislation. In a letter to Rep. Matusi, the Coalition wrote:
“Because vast opportunities remain to reduce diesel emissions through the DERA program, we wish to express our appreciation for legislation you have sponsored to continue the authorization of DERA through fiscal year 2024… [In 2016,] EPA estimated that from 2009 to 2013 the program upgraded nearly 73,000 vehicles or pieces of equipment and saved over 450 million gallons of fuel… EPA estimated that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA funding include 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM) and 335,200 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx). According to EPA, these emission reductions yielded up to $12.6 billion in estimated health benefits. Significant funding since then continues to add to these totals, reflective of significant progress that continues to be made. In short, the program continues to help improve air quality at the nation’s schools, construction sites, highways, railyards and ports. DERA is one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs and enjoys support in Republican and Democratic Administrations. EPA estimates every $1 in federal assistance is met with another $3 in non-federal matching funds, including significant investments from the private sector, and generates $5 to $21 in health and economic benefits. Every state benefits because 30 percent of the funding goes to support individual state programs. The program continues to enjoy robust funding support on a bicameral, bipartisan basis but the level of funding provided for the program overall is less than two-thirds of the total amount previously authorized by Congress. We therefore support continued funding authorization. The DERA program is still needed to help speed adoption of highly cost-effective emission control technologies for the millions of diesel vehicles which do not meet the most recent emission control standards. It is our hope that Congress will act to extend the program to allow the benefits of diesel emission reduction to continue in communities around the country.”
The White House is seeking to reduce DERA funding to $10 million for FY2020. Congress increased funding to $75 million for 2019.
This legislation has 11 bipartisan House cosponsors, including seven Democrats and four Republicans. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works by a vote vote with the support of 10 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including five Democrats and five Republicans.
In the 115th Congress, this legislation was sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) with the support of 17 bipartisan House cosponsors, including nine Democrats and eight Republicans, and didn’t receive a committee vote. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Carper, passed the Senate by unanimous consent with the support of three bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including two Republicans and one Democrat.
Of Note: DERA was created in 2005 with bipartisan support to establish voluntary national and state-level grant and loan programs to reduce diesel emissions by upgrading and modernizing older diesel engines and equipment. It originally passed by a vote of 92-1 in the Senate and by voice vote in the House of Representatives. When it was reauthorized in 2015, DERA was supported by a unique and diverse coalition of more than 500 environmental, health, industry, labor and government organizations.
Through this flexible program, grants are administered on a competitive basis to maximize benefits for the American people. DERA funds are used to clean up the nation’s older diesels, by retrofitting or replacing them with new technologies that significantly reduce the soot and emissions. In 2017, the EPA estimated that the program had upgraded nearly 73,000 vehicles and pieces of equipment since 2005. When it was up for reauthorization in 2017, a large group representing manufacturers, transportation associations, and clean air and health advocates sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging DERA’s reauthorization. They argued that DERA been one of the most cost-effective federal clean air programs and helps to improve air quality at schools, construction sites, highways, rail yards, and ports.
In 2015, the EPA estimated there were 11 million older diesel trucks, buses, and equipment in use. From 2005-2015, the federal government invested roughly a half-billion dollars through DERA to improve America’s air quality by upgrading and modernizing older diesel engines and equipment through engine replacements and retrofits that would include new pollution-cutting filters and catalysts. In 2015, Consulting-Specifying Engineer estimated that replacing all of the older diesels in use with new models that met the EPA’s standards at the time would eliminate at least 110,000 tons of particulate matter (or soot) and 2.6 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides from the nation’s air — equivalent to taking 13 million of today’s trucks off the roads.
Emissions from older, dirtier diesel engines, which can operate for 30 years, have serious impacts on public health and the environment. By reauthorizing DERA, this bill would enable upgrades to the millions of diesel engines on U.S. waterways, rails, and roadways and thereby improve air quality and living conditions.
- Sponsoring Rep. Doris Matusi (D-CA) Press Release
- Sponsoring Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) Dear Colleague Letter
- DERA Coalition Letter (In Favor)
- Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Committee Report
- Transport Topics
- Consulting-Specifying Engineer (Context)
- HDT Truckinginfo (Context)
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ElcovaLana)