Just in time for the holidays, we have received a special gift from Congress — the passage of an important health bill, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 (also known as DERA).
DERA is designed to reduce emissions from millions of existing, legacy diesel engines in use today by as much as 90 percent. DERA is an innovative voluntary program of national and state grants and loans that fund the installation of pollution control devices on existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. Once President Obama signs the bill into law, it is expected to provide a total of $500 million in grants and loans over a five-year period. Throughout the Southeast, that will translate into a large number of cleaner diesel vehicles on the road, with a corresponding increase in new, green jobs and a major reduction in deadly black carbon pollution.
DERA was co-sponsored by Southern Senators Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Hagan (D-N.C.), and passed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support. It also required especially valiant efforts of the DERA Coalition, which represents a diverse group of environmental organizations, industry, and states. The passage of this bill reflects Congress’s courage and proves that bipartisan solutions are still possible for our nation’s most pressing environmental issues. But the work of the diesel advocacy team is not yet over. We must continue to work to ensure that the new Congress will appropriate the total amount of funding necessary to realize the full economic and environmental benefits of this historic act.
DERA will significantly reduce the negative public health impacts of toxic diesel pollution and improve the lives of those who live and work around diesel exhaust—that’s all of us!
Please contact your congressional representatives and thank them for this special Christmas gift to us all.
We would also like to thank you, our supporters and allies, for your calls, emails and support in helping get this bill passed. Thank YOU!