After news got out of the proposed cut to funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), industry partners rallied together to keep the program alive.
A coalition of environmental, public health, industry, and state and local government groups formed to oppose the proposed amendment, which was defeated last evening in bipartisan House vote of 73 to 352.
“I want to thank the members of Congress who voted to protect the funding for this important program, as well as our member companies, school bus industry partners and coalition allies for helping to get the message out quickly,” said NSTA Executive Director David Hobson in a recent statement. “I also appreciate the quick work of our DC lobbying team at Prime Policy Group, especially Gabe Rozsa, for dropping everything to marshal support for the program.”
The program was recently reauthorized by Congress for five years for a total of $500 million this past December. The proposed amendment looked to divert the funding to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road. But, no matter how the vote would have ended, the DERA program was not slated to be terminated, according to the EPA.
“In the face of significant budget constraints, EPA has made the difficult budget decision not to propose new DERA grant funding for FY 2012,” said EPA Spokesperson Catherine Milbourn. “During this time, the program will continue to support already on-going projects funded through DERA and stimulus funds, adding to the tremendous public health benefits associated with the program that have resulted from significant reductions in air pollution, particularly in our cities and around our ports and transportation hubs.”