Knoxville, Tenn. (July 28, 2011) – Last night, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced an amendment to the fiscal year 2012 Interior Appropriations bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to strip all funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (DERA).
In the Southeast, DERA has been the sole funding source for reducing toxic diesel emissions since 2006. Diesel-powered vehicles and equipment play an important role in the nation’s economy and DERA was designed to reduce emissions by 90 percent from the estimated 20 million diesel engines in use today across the nation.
Reducing diesel pollution is a win for jobs, health and climate – priority issues for many Americans. The DERA program has been responsible for the creation and retention of jobs in the United States that involve manufacturing, installation and servicing of emissions related technologies. In a fiscal year 2008 report to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that for every dollar spent on the DERA program, an average of $20 in health benefits are generated. Every state in the nation now has a diesel retrofit program and benefits from DERA funding. These programs and their benefits will no longer exist without this funding.
SACE understands that sacrifices need to be made in crafting the budget, but eliminating a program that reduces one of the primary sources of particulate matter emissions in the state is not in the best interest of Tennesseans. Funding for the DERA program is sound environmental, health and economic policy. We call on our Congressional Representatives in the Southeast to reject this amendment and support funding to reduce diesel emissions and protect public health. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.www.cleanenergy.org