EPA Announces $115 Million for DERA Grants

Funding Designed to Help Mitigate Diesel Engine Pollution
Trucks on the highway
The DERA program promotes an array of diesel emissions strategies by working with an array of industry stakeholders. (WendellandCarolyn/Getty Images)

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A program meant to advance air quality improvements nationwide recently received a boost from the Biden administration.

This month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that $115 million has been directed for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.

The grants are designed to facilitate reductions of certain harmful pollutants from existing diesel engines.

“Throughout the years, this crucial program to reduce diesel emissions has improved air quality and provided far-reaching public health benefits by reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and saving millions in gallons of fuel,” Joseph Goffman, principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said Aug. 3.

Joe Goffman


“Through the DERA program, along with millions in grant funding now available thanks to President [Joe] Biden’s [‘Investing in America’] agenda, we are looking forward to supporting more projects that will get more clean vehicles on the road, protecting people’s health and our planet,” Goffman added.

The agency announced it began accepting applications for projects aimed at reducing diesel emissions. Specific priority is given to fleets operating at supply chain facilities where poor air quality has been verified. The deadline for grant applications is Dec. 1.

“The DERA program promotes an array of diesel emissions strategies by working with manufacturers, fleet operators, air quality professionals, environmental and community organizations, and state and local officials to address the varying priorities of different regions and sectors,” per background the agency provided.

On Capitol Hill, a Senate committee recently advanced an update of the DERA program.

Last month, the Environment and Public Works Committee gave bipartisan backing to reauthorize DERA through fiscal 2029. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), would authorize $100 million annually for the program. The measure’s floor consideration has yet to be scheduled.

“Since its implementation in 2005, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act has been one of our nation’s most cost-effective tools for reducing harmful diesel emissions,” Carper said July 26.

“Our bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the DERA program for an additional five years, ensuring that it continues to help create good-paying domestic manufacturing jobs while protecting public health and our environment,” Carper noted. “I thank ranking member [Sen. Shelley Moore] Capito and our EPW committee colleagues for supporting this commonsense clean air program.”

According to the background the committee provided: “Through fiscal-year 2018, EPA estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA funding are 16,800 tons of particulate matter, 491,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, 5.3 million tons of carbon dioxide and over 11,000 tons of black carbon.”

Sens. Tom Carper and Shelley Moore Capito

 Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Capito observed, “As an original sponsor of the last reauthorization of the DERA program, I am proud the EPW committee advanced this effort today, which will help improve air quality and grow our economy at the same time.”

EPA officials outlined myriad benefits associated with the program.

“From the onset of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 until the recently reauthorized Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the DERA program’s wide-reaching benefits have positively impacted human health, local air quality and the global climate,” according to an EPA report titled “Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Fifth Report to Congress: Highlights of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program 2008-2018.”

The report also said, “The DERA legislation emphasizes maximizing health benefits, conserving diesel fuel and serving areas of poor air quality.”

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