In July 2005, the President signed the 2005 Energy Bill (H.R. 6; PL 109-58) into law. Section 751-9 of HR 6 is the newly authorized Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERP). It authorizes a new federal program to make grants and loans available to State and local government agencies and non-profit organizations for reducing emissions from diesel engines. The program focuses on replacing/retrofitting engines in non-attainment areas and would require that at least 50 percent of the federal program funds be used on public fleets. EPA or CARB-certified or verified technologies qualify, and NGV repowers and replacements will be eligible. In its budget justification documents, EPA states that the DERP will support diesel engine retrofits, rebuilds and replacements and anti-idling measures. Five sectors are targeted: freight; construction; school buses; agriculture; and ports. The bill authorizes $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2011, to remain available until expended.
FY07 Diesel Emission Reduction Program Appropriations:
The 2005 Energy and Highway bills authorized a number of programs to reduce emissions from diesel engines. Among these were: the Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERP); the Diesel Truck Retrofit and Fleet Modernization Program; the Idle Reduction Program and the Clean School Bus Program. All of these programs are either newly authorized (and thus modify programs that the EPA had operated and provided some funds for over the past years, i.e. the National Clean Diesel Campaign, and the Clean School Bus USA program, or create new programs such as the Diesel Truck Retrofit and Fleet Modernization Program. Authorizing these programs allowed the Congress to direct the EPA how to operate the program, provide it with higher funding authorization levels, and indicate strong Congressional support.
After the Highway and Energy bills were signed into law, a question arose among the supporters of these various program as to how best to achieve the proper amount of funding for them and as to how the funds were to be distributed. Encouraged by Senators John Voinovich (R-OH), Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Tom Carper (D-DE), a decision was made by all interested parties to join forces. As a result, rather than the supporters of each of these individual programs lobbying separately for the FY’07 appropriations, all would support an effort to fund the four programs out of DERP program funds. The FY’07 authorization for these four programs was $305 million. Thus, if all programs were fully funded, it would result in significant increases in funding for natural gas school buses as well as the other programs. All supporters of the four programs encouraged the EPA to support the effort and to provide $200 million for DERP. The result of the effort with the Administration was that the EPA requested $49.5 million for DERP in its FY ’07 budget request.
The full House, which has passed the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill (HR 5386; H. Rpt. 109-465) for FY ’07, proposes $28 million for DERP. A copy of the bill and the Committee report can be accessed here. The Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations bill (HR 5386; Sen. Rpt. 109-275) for FY ’07, proposes $20 million for DERP. A copy of the bill and the Committee report can be accessed here. After the measure has been considered by the full Senate, it must then be reconciled with the House passed bill.
Projected NGVAmerica activities for 2007:
NGVAmerica will continue to work closely with a large coalition of groups interested in programs to reduce emissions from diesel engines to include in the Administration’s FY2008 Budget request the full $200 million authorized in H.R. 6 for the Diesel Emission Reduction Program, and will work to include those funds in the FY2008 Appropriations Bills.