Press Releases

Matsui, Lowenethal, Long, Wittman applaud House passage of Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

Washington, September 9, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Billy Long (R-MO), Rob Wittman (R-VA) applauded House passage of H.R. 1768, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). This legislation reauthorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) DERA program, which provides grants to help communities reduce harmful diesel emissions and improve air quality and public health for Americans across the country.

Heavy machinery and older, dirtier diesel vehicles can operate for over 30 years and have serious impacts on public health and the environment. Passage of this bill and reauthorization of this program would enable upgrades to the millions of diesel engines on our waterways, rails, and roadways – improving air quality and living conditions for our communities.

“Clean air and a clean environment are fundamental rights for every American. No person, no matter their age, race, or zip code, deserves to live with a health condition resulting from poor air quality. For us to realize that goal, we need to work together in an all-hands-on-deck approach to reduce air pollution and improve public health, and today’s vote is an example of just that,” said Congresswoman Matsui, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “DERA creates American jobs, protects our environment, and generates thirty dollars in public health benefits for every dollar spent. It is the very definition of a commonsense, good government program. Passing this bill through the House is an example of what we can accomplish when we work together, and I am proud to have spearheaded this reauthorization alongside Chairman Pallone and Rep. Long. I look forward to seeing the Senate finish this important work so we can usher this bipartisan bill into law.”

“We have seen dramatic reductions in air pollution at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles thanks in no small part to DERA grants facilitating the shift to more efficient and cleaner diesel vehicles. Every resident of my district can literally breathe easier thanks to DERA grants, and I am proud to support its reauthorization which will help ensure a cleaner future for our communities,” said Congressman Lowenthal.

“I am pleased to join with my colleagues in passing the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act,” said Congressman Long. “This program is a bipartisan, commonsense approach to improving air quality by reducing harmful emissions from older and dirtier diesel engines. Missouri greatly benefited from this program in 2018, more than doubling the number of school buses that were funded for new engines from the previous year. I know our state will continue to benefit from this program when it is reauthorized.”

“I am proud to see this legislation that will improve the air quality at schools, construction sites, highways, rail yards, and ports pass the House today. 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,” said Congressman Wittman.

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 previous reauthorization. Through this flexible program, grants are administered on a competitive basis to maximize public health and environmental benefits for the American people.

According to a recent EPA report to Congress, since 2008, the DERA program as achieved impressive outcomes and benefits, including:

• $629 million in funds awarded

• 67,300 engines retrofitted or replaced

• $19 billion in realized public health savings

• Up to 2,300 fewer premature deaths

• 61,500 tons of carbon monoxide removed from our atmosphere

• 5,089,170 tons of carbon dioxide removed from our atmosphere

• 454 million gallons of fuel saved