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house Bill H.R. 1768

Should the Diesel Emission Reduction Grant Program be Reauthorized Through FY2024?

Argument in favor

The Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) is an effective means of reducing diesel emissions’ negative impact on American communities. Reauthorizing it will help fund diesel emissions retrofits that’ll help increase the efficiency of cars, trucks, and more.

jimK's Opinion
···
09/10/2019
Diesel powered products will be hard to replace for years into developing our approaches to a carbon neutral economy. I think that improving greenhouse gas emissions from diesel combustion engines in the mean time is a both a worthy and helpful investment. Climate change solutions will be complex and I can anticipate that some approaches may not work as well as expected. We need to keep as many options available until we can assure that they will no longer be needed. There will be no second chances if we do not meet greenhouse emission guidelines. Diesel power will be important in the interim. I hope some enterprising geniuses can up with a reliable 99% combustion source carbon capture gizmo to retrofit existing equipment. It would sure help with the time and economic pressures the world community faces to meet these goals.
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Martha's Opinion
···
09/10/2019
The Trump administration continues to try and has rolled back environmental protections. We need to protect our environment and strengthen standards not reverse them. Without a viable environment nothing else will matter.
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Thelma's Opinion
···
09/10/2019
If this will slow climate change, I’m all in.
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Argument opposed

The Trump administration is seeking to reduce DERA funding to $10 million for FY2020, presumably for budgetary reasons. Since the administration has already set this priority, Congress should abide by it instead of increasing DERA funding to $100 million.

Poli.Sci's Opinion
···
09/09/2019
Diesel is by far the slowest burning and better fuel for vehicles than unleaded or premium fuels. For one gallon of oil to be made for unleaded, 2 gallons can be made for diesel. Yeah we can increase more fuel efficiency in Diesel engines but the problem encompasses people who don’t like diesel because “it smells bad.” I can you this much, I’d rather smell diesel than unleaded filtered which smells like rotten eggs when burned through newer engines. Besides smell, diesel is more economical and longer lasting. It is harder to ignite diesel than unleaded and diesel does not freeze or clump at lower temperatures like unleaded and ethanol. Besides, we need to be reducing our Federal spending rather than increasing the costs and grants offered. Let the states give grants on this, not the Federal government.
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Justin's Opinion
···
09/10/2019
Most people here have no idea what new emissions have done to diesel trucks in the past 7 or 8 years. It’s been a NIGHTMARE. Multiple companies with diesel fleet trucks are spending more time with their trucks in the shop than on the road! So quit throwing on new emissions equipment on these trucks when they are junk. So no, I don’t support all this new emissions stuff. In fact, diesels are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts, so I’m not sure why we’re focused on diesel anyways.
Like (7)
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James's Opinion
···
09/09/2019
Diesel is by far a better fuel! With today’s technology it’s much more clean burning!
Like (5)
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed September 9th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 295 Yea / 114 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedMarch 14th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 1768?

This bill — the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2019 — would reauthorize the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) through FY2024. DERA authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants, rebates, or loans for reducing diesel emissions from certain diesel vehicles or fleets by retrofitting or replacing their engines. Under this legislation, DERA would be funded at $100 million in FY2020, an increase from $75 million in FY2019.

Impact

Diesel cars and trucks; diesel emissions reduction retrofits for heavy and light diesel vehicles, ocean-going vessels, locomotives, and non-road equipment; clean air strategies; and DERA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1768

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. 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 NoteDERA 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.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ElcovaLana)

AKA

Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2019

Official Title

To reauthorize subtitle G of title VII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, relating to diesel emissions reduction, and for other purposes.

    Diesel powered products will be hard to replace for years into developing our approaches to a carbon neutral economy. I think that improving greenhouse gas emissions from diesel combustion engines in the mean time is a both a worthy and helpful investment. Climate change solutions will be complex and I can anticipate that some approaches may not work as well as expected. We need to keep as many options available until we can assure that they will no longer be needed. There will be no second chances if we do not meet greenhouse emission guidelines. Diesel power will be important in the interim. I hope some enterprising geniuses can up with a reliable 99% combustion source carbon capture gizmo to retrofit existing equipment. It would sure help with the time and economic pressures the world community faces to meet these goals.
    Like (50)
    Follow
    Share
    Diesel is by far the slowest burning and better fuel for vehicles than unleaded or premium fuels. For one gallon of oil to be made for unleaded, 2 gallons can be made for diesel. Yeah we can increase more fuel efficiency in Diesel engines but the problem encompasses people who don’t like diesel because “it smells bad.” I can you this much, I’d rather smell diesel than unleaded filtered which smells like rotten eggs when burned through newer engines. Besides smell, diesel is more economical and longer lasting. It is harder to ignite diesel than unleaded and diesel does not freeze or clump at lower temperatures like unleaded and ethanol. Besides, we need to be reducing our Federal spending rather than increasing the costs and grants offered. Let the states give grants on this, not the Federal government.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    The Trump administration continues to try and has rolled back environmental protections. We need to protect our environment and strengthen standards not reverse them. Without a viable environment nothing else will matter.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    If this will slow climate change, I’m all in.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Of course the White House wants to reduce funding for this program. To continue it means having breathable air, fewer respiratory problems, and a healthier environment. This administration would abhor that idea. Keep the funding, renew the program.
    Like (11)
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    Diesel emissions are even worse than normal gasoline emissions. Protecting public health and the environment needs to be a top priority!
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Most people here have no idea what new emissions have done to diesel trucks in the past 7 or 8 years. It’s been a NIGHTMARE. Multiple companies with diesel fleet trucks are spending more time with their trucks in the shop than on the road! So quit throwing on new emissions equipment on these trucks when they are junk. So no, I don’t support all this new emissions stuff. In fact, diesels are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts, so I’m not sure why we’re focused on diesel anyways.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Why is it Trump's goal to get rid of everything that's good for the world? I forget.
    Like (6)
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    Every effort must be made now, preferably yesterday, to reduce emissions and transfer to clean energy.
    Like (6)
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    No, abolish the corrupt EPA.
    Like (6)
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    We must continue to improve government standards on man made pollutant emissions.
    Like (6)
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    Diesel emissions needs to be reigned in since the dieselgate and these big Chevy and ford diesels that people use and blow smoke all over people to show off their trucks needs to be brought in to help everyone live and breath
    Like (6)
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    Any effort to curb damage to the climate has my support.
    Like (5)
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    Every time government gets into an area, the outcome is always worse than nonintervention. Let the market decide.
    Like (5)
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    Diesel is by far a better fuel! With today’s technology it’s much more clean burning!
    Like (5)
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    I didn't even have to look to know that this bill was introduced by a Democrat. They are the only ones who want our grandchildren to live, and so are working against the fossil fuel and Russian bought GOP to try to keep our air and water clean, and our energy efficient with destroying the planet! If you want your children and grandchildren to live, support them!
    Like (5)
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    Just like regular emissions are regulated diesel emissions should be regulated too.
    Like (5)
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    Air quality *must* be kept among the highest of priorities. Too many people, including children, develop respiratory illnesses from breathing polluted air.
    Like (5)
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    No. It’s a cleaner fuel
    Like (4)
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    The Trump administration is seeking to reduce DERA funding to $10 million for FY2020, presumably for budgetary reasons. Since the administration has already set this priority, Congress should abide by it instead of increasing DERA funding to $100 million.
    Like (4)
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