Reps. Wittman, Matsui, Lowenthal, Long Introduce the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act to Reduce Emissions & Promote Clean Air

March 15, 2019

VCC Statement:  “The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) is a critical tool for Virginians who live where emissions from heavily polluting diesel engines are concentrated we must continue progress.” Said Alleyn Harned, Director of Virginia Clean Cities.  “This bipartisan program has serious positive impact on our air and our future and sets a stage to also replace old diesel vehicles with new clean technologies.”

Washington, March 14, 2019. – U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Billy Long (R-MO), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) introduced the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2019 to reauthorize DERA, a program where emissions-reducing strategies are deployed to promote clean air, ensure healthier communities, and protect the environment.

Emissions from older, dirtier diesel engines, which can operate for 30 years, have serious impacts on public health and the environment. This bill would enable upgrades to the millions of diesel engines on our waterways, rails, and roadways – improving air quality and living conditions for our communities.

“This is a critical piece of legislation that helps address the climate crisis and makes our diesel cars and trucks more fuel efficient,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “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.”

“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,” said Congressman Lowenthal. “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.”

“Reauthorizing the DERA program is a necessary and commonsense approach to reducing harmful emissions and improving the quality of our air,” said Rep. Long. “Missouri is one of the many states that has benefited greatly from this program, receiving millions of dollars in grant money to upgrade diesel engines to make them cleaner and more efficient. I look forward to supporting this bill and ensuring its passage in the House.”

“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will improve the air quality at schools, construction sites, highways, rail yards, and ports,” said Rep. Wittman. “This critical legislation incentivizes heavy-duty equipment and vehicle owners to upgrade or replace technologies on their existing diesel vehicles and engines – ultimately resulting in cleaner air and a healthier environment. Through grants and rebates, DERA can help drastically reduce emissions and every dollar of federal assistance generates $5 to $21 in health and economic benefits.”

DERA has long enjoyed bipartisan support, originally passing by a vote of 92-1 in the Senate and by voice vote in the House of Representatives during its last reauthorization. Through this flexible program, grants are administered on a competitive basis to maximize benefits for the American people.