The Senate passed an amendment reauthorizing the Diesel Emission Reduction Act at $500 million over the next five years as part of the wider-reaching Energy Policy Modernization Act.
The amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), calls for $100 million in DERA funding through fiscal year 2021. If the Senate approves S. 2012, it will enter a conference with H.R. 8 that the House passed in early December.
“While the House bill does not contain any language on DERA, the prospects would be good to be able to retain the language in a final conference report that has a good chance of being signed into law,” the National School Transportation Association said in a statement.
NSTA, which helped to lead efforts to pass the DERA amendment, added that the funding program was originally authorized in 2005 in a large energy package similar to S. 2012.
NSTA also said its members that operate private school buses under contract with school districts have received millions in DERA grants and rebates to purchase new buses or retrofit older ones with the goal of reducing soot and other pollutant emissions. In December, EPA awarded DERA rebates to a mix of 85 school districts and school bus companies in 35 states their share of $7 million to replace or retrofit old, diesel-powered buses.