August 25, 2022
WASHINGTON – According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report released today, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) has delivered significant reductions in diesel emissions to protect human health and improve air quality in communities across America. DERA legislation, a bipartisan effort authorized by Congress, emphasizes maximizing health benefits, serving areas of poor air quality, and conserving diesel fuel.
“Reducing harmful diesel emissions results in cleaner air and healthier communities, and this bipartisan legislation is delivering these benefits to communities across the nation,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The results have been especially impactful for vulnerable communities and children, prioritizing diesel emissions reduction projects that provide health and environmental benefits to underserved and overburdened areas.”
“For years now, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act has helped communities across the country breathe easier by replacing dirty diesel engines with cleaner, American-made alternatives,” said Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman Tom Carper. “Today’s report further illustrates the positive impact DERA continues to have on reducing planet-warming emissions and cleaning up the air children breathe, while also fostering economic opportunity. As the original co-sponsor of this bipartisan law, I could not be prouder of DERA’s continued successes. I look forward to working with Administrator Regan and the Biden Administration to ensure more Americans benefit from the historic investments we’ve made in this program.”
“Today’s report highlights the overwhelming success of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, especially for our most vulnerable communities,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said. “I commend the Biden Administration for accelerating the replacement of millions of dirty diesel engines currently in use across the nation. It’s a win for the health of our children, vulnerable communities, the environment, air quality, and our climate. Thanks to the DERA funding included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, I’m confident this program will continue to be a success for years to come as it helps create a clean future for all.”
Nearly eight million legacy diesel engines operate throughout the nation’s transportation network, continuing to emit large amounts of pollution. EPA’s decades-long effort to reduce smog, soot, air toxics, and other harmful emissions from diesel engines has resulted in significant health and environmental benefits while advancing technology and minimizing cost. The DERA program enables EPA to offer funding to accelerate the upgrade and turnover of legacy diesel fleets by providing rebates and grant funding to replace these vehicles and engines with equipment that meets or exceeds current emissions standards.
Between 2008 and 2018, DERA led to cleaner air across the United States, saving 520 million gallons of diesel fuel and preventing emissions of the following harmful pollutants:
- 491,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- 16,800 tons of particulate matter (PM)
- 65,600 tons of carbon monoxide
- 5,307,100 tons of carbon dioxide
EPA awarded the first DERA grants in 2008 and continues to award DERA grants and rebates each fiscal year. Between 2008 to 2018, a total of approximately $801 million in funding was appropriated to DERA to replace or retrofit more than 73,700 engines or vehicles. According to EPA’s calculations of health benefits, diesel emissions reduction projects are cost-effective, with monetized health benefits estimated to exceed federal funding by a factor of 10. EPA estimates that reducing these harmful pollutants will lead to about $8 billion in monetized health benefits.
The DERA Program is also committed to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 goal that will deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. DERA will strive to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of our work.
DERA advances environmental justice by prioritizing emissions reductions in areas that suffer disproportionate impacts from diesel fleets to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards. Under DERA, goods-movement projects are also prioritized because they tend to take place in communities that are disproportionately impacted by higher levels of diesel exhaust, such as those near ports, rail yards, and distribution centers. From 2008 to 2018, more than half of DERA projects were targeted to areas with air quality challenges.
The Fifth Report to Congress summarizes the program’s accomplishments from fiscal years 2008-2018 appropriations.
Access the report here.