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US government proposes a 70% cut to DERA funding

11 April 2013

The proposed Obama Administration’s 2014 budget includes a 70% reduction in funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), a key program that has supported diesel retrofits and other emission reduction initiatives for in-use diesel engines in the United States. The proposed cuts “will nearly decimate one of the nation's most successful clean air programs”, said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

The overall FY 2014 budget proposed for the US EPA is $8.153 billion. This figure is $296 million less than the EPA’s enacted budget for FY 2012.

The 2014 budget proposal would reduce DERA funding from $20 million in FY 2013 to $6 million in FY 2014. The DERA grant program was originally authorized as part of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 to fund upgrades and modernize the oldest, higher-emitting diesel engines, complementing the emissions standards EPA set for new diesel engines beginning in 2007. The program has evolved to also include fuel-saving technologies.

Under the EPAct of 2005, DERA authorized funding of up to $200 million annually for FY 2007 through FY 2011, but the actual funding appropriated annually has been less than the authorized amount. Approximately $231 million in total was appropriated over the five year period from FY 2007 to FY 2011. An additional $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided a significant additional help for many clean diesel projects.

DERA was re-authorized in 2010 for FY 2012-2016 for up to $100 million per year, but only about $30 million was appropriated for FY 2012 and $20 million in FY 2013. The rapidly decreasing DERA funding has been one of the main reasons behind the decline of the diesel retrofit market, evident from the MECA surveys of diesel retrofit sales.

“DERA's effectiveness has never been questioned”, said Allen Schaeffer. “The bipartisan Diesel Emissions Reduction Act has allowed communities in all 50 states to upgrade older diesel school and transit buses, commercial trucks, locomotives and other equipment with modern and cleaner diesel engines and emissions filters. We challenge the Administration to identify any other program as effective as DERA, where $1 in government investment returns $13 worth of health and environmental benefits to the American people. This is a time to leverage and restore funding for this program to help meet national clean air goals.”

Source: US EPA | Diesel Technology Forum