National Organizations Endorse Clean Diesel Upgrade Program At Annual Meetings

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cited as one of the few actions that will have immediate environmental benefits in all 50 states, the national organizations that represent America’s state legislatures, county officials and mayors endorsed the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and requested that Congress reauthorize the program for another five years.

In recent weeks, DERA reauthorization has been endorsed at separate national meetings by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. DERA has also been a vital source of federal funds to school bus operators – and one of the few available directly to pupil transportation operations in school districts or to private bus companies through the National School Transportation Association.

“From our state capitals to our city halls, America’s elected officials are speaking with a united voice in asking Congress to reauthorize this successful program,” said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit organization that is leading the effort to promote clean diesel technologies.

“The fact that the three largest national organizations representing these officials support DERA is a tribute to its success over the past five years and the need to continue upgrading the existing 11 million older diesel engines,” he added. “These officials have seen firsthand the environmental benefits of DERA and understand the important work that still must be done to address air quality issues.”

Congress created DERA in 2005 to improve America’s air quality by upgrading and modernizing older diesel engines and equipment through engine replacements and the application of new exhaust emissions filters and catalysts. These retrofits reduce emission in older engines by up to 90 percent.

Sens. Thomas Carper (D-DE) and George Voinovich (R-OH) are drafting legislation to reauthorize DERA for five more years. Without reauthorization, it will expire in 2011.

Nationally, DERA is supported by a unique coalition of more than 150 environmental and public health organizations, and industry representatives, including those in the school transportation industry.