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President Obama reauthorizes diesel-engine emission act


On Tuesday, President Obama signed the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 (DERA) into law. The measure reauthorizes a diesel engine modernization program, which was established in 2005, another five years.

The program is designed to reduce emissions by authorizing continual funding — through federal and state grants, loans and rebate programs — for modernizing older diesel engines and equipment, including those used in locomotives, trucks and buses. DERA authorizes $100 million annually for five years, or a total of $500 million.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are 11 million diesel engines in the nation lacking the latest pollution-control technology. Each year, DERA “helps clean up more than 14,000 diesel-powered vehicles and equipment across the country,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) — who co-authored the bill in 2005 with Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) — in a prepared statement.

“DERA is considered one of the most cost-effective federal programs, averaging more than $13 in health and economic benefits for every $1 in funding,” said Carper. “Since funding started in 2007, DERA to date has funded more than 3,000 projects nationwide, impacting thousands of vehicles and engines, and thousands of lives.”

The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) — a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the significance of diesel engines, fuel and technology — hailed the bill’s reauthorization.

“Because of the national importance of modernizing older diesel engines to reduce emissions, DERA is one of the most important clean air initiatives passed by Congress in recent years,” said DTF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer in a prepared statement. “In addition, DERA is important to our national economic growth because diesel engines power over 95 percent of our commercial trucks, and an overwhelming majority of our ships, locomotives, and farm and construction equipment.”