A contingent of trucking and transportation companies and associations is mounting an effort to save the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program from expected cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In a March 3 letter to new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the coalition of interests states that DERA helps “speed the adoption of highly cost-effective and efficient domestically produced emission control technologies for the legacy fleet of diesel engines that currently do not meet the most recent emission control standards.”
The program, the letter adds, allows for older diesel vehicles to be either retrofitted with updated technology or retired and replaced, to the benefit of “the nation’s health and environment.”
It also says that for DERA’s $700 million investment over 10 years, total lifetime emission reductions amount to 14,700 tons of particulate matter and 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), which the EPA has estimated equates to about $12.6 billion in health benefits.
The letter, however, goes to an EPA administrator who previously, as Oklahoma’s attorney general, sued the EPA 14 times and who has said he intends to scale back the EPA and its regulatory reach.
The EPA has requested a 25% cut in funding and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) passback to the EPA, which identifies DERA as a program to cut to meet that target. A story in the conservative Daily Caller points to a 2014 EPA Inspector General report analyzing DERA assistance agreements to six recipients, totaling about $26.3 million.
That report questioned $23.8 million of the total for reasons that included four of the six recipients not meeting all the objectives of the award, and five of the six recipients not having a financial management system that met federal requirements that applied to the grant award.
However, the story also mentions a 2016 report from the EPA that highlights the program’s positive impact on the environment, such as those stated by the trucking and transportation groups in their letter to Pruitt.
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