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A program meant to improve air quality by reducing diesel emissions was included in the annual defense authorization bill the Senate passed July 23.

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act provision would reauthorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program through fiscal 2024. The program aims to put out of circulation older, diesel-powered equipment. It also seeks to facilitate the freight industry’s upgrade of diesel engines that operate along waterways, rails and commercial corridors.

“For almost 15 years now, federal money administered through the DERA program [has] replaced dirty, old, inefficient diesel engines with cleaner, American-made technology,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He was the provision’s sponsor.

Tom Carper (D-Del.)

Carper

“DERA effectively reduces the air pollution that hurts our lungs and harms the planet, creating American jobs and a healthier environment,” he added. “DERA also helps our nation reduce our dependence on oil. Cleaning up dirty diesel engines will create cleaner air and more economic opportunity at [a] time when Americans — not just those serving in our military — need it most.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Armed Services Committee chairman, said, “Oklahoma has successfully used the DERA program as a cost-effective way to reduce pollution of diesel powered vehicles, including hundreds of school buses, through public-private partnerships, making it possible for businesses to voluntarily upgrade to new, efficient technology while creating jobs.”

Carper had authored DERA legislation with former Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich more than a decade ago.

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