EPA Tells Congress Clean Diesel Program Works
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week released a report to Congress detailing the health, environmental and economic benefits of the agency's Diesel Emission Reduction Program.
The program, funded at $50 million last year, allowed EPA to fund the purchase or retrofitting of 14,000 diesel-powered vehicles and pieces of equipment.
The benefits from the program include:
- Rreducing 46,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, a key contributor to elevated smog levels, and 2,200 tons of particulate matter over the lifetime of diesel vehicles;
- Conserving 3.2.million gallons of fuel annually under the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, which saves operators $8 million annually; and
- Generating public health benefits between $500 million to $1.4 billion.
EPA is currently implementing stringent regulatory standards for new diesel engines. Because diesel engines remain in use for decades, it is also important to address the existing fleet. Under the diesel emissions reduction program, which comprises both national grant competitions and direct state allocations, EPA provides support for retrofits, repairs, replacements, idle reduction, cleaner fuels, innovative financing for clean technologies under the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, and other strategies. Although Congress funded the diesel emission reduction program for existing fleets for the first time in FY2008, EPA had awarded smaller, sector-specific clean diesel grants for the past several years.
On top of the FY2008 funding, competitions for FY2009 clean diesel funding grants totaling more than $60 million are now in progress.
In addition to its budget funding, EPA recently awarded $300 million in clean diesel funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.