Idle Reduction Program

The Program:
In July 2005, the President signed the 2005 Energy Bill (H.R. 6; PL 109-58) into law. Section 756 of HR 6 is the newly authorized Idle Reduction Program. This program authorizes funds for two separate EPA managed programs to support the deployment of idle reduction and energy conservation technologies. Idle reduction technologies are defined as: truck stop electrification unit, auxiliary power unit or other technologies that are used to reduce idling, that allow the main engine to be shut down, and that can be employed on HD engines. (HD engines are engines that weight 8500 lbs. or more). Energy conservation technology is defined as any device, system of devices or equipment that improves fuel economy, including natural gas engines. NGVAmerica has submitted comments to the EPA that state that any Guidance issued under Section 756 by the EPA should recognize that NGVs and, in particular, heavy-duty natural gas engines, are energy conservation technologies that are eligible under the deployment program to be established under the program. There is a separate provision for reducing idling emissions from locomotive engines.

It authorizes the following funds to be expended by EPA:
For heavy-duty engines:

  • $19.500.000 for fiscal year 2006
  • $30.000.000 for fiscal year 2007
  • $45.000.000 for fiscal year 2008

For railroads:

  • $10.000.000 for fiscal year 2006
  • $15.000.000 for fiscal year 2007
  • $20.000.000 for fiscal year 2008

FY07 Idle 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.

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