Alexander Supports Energy Bill Measure to Help Clean the Air

Reduces harmful emissions from diesel engines and sets up incentive programs

Posted on June 23, 2005

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored an amendment to the Senate Energy bill to help clean the air and lower the cost of clean diesel trucks. The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2005 works to reduce harmful emissions from existing diesel engines and will distribute more than $1 billion over 5 years to establish voluntary national grant and loan programs for diesel emission reduction projects and programs that improve air quality and protect public health. It will help areas come into attainment for the new air quality standards. Developed with environmental, industry, and public officials, the legislation complements Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations now being implemented that address diesel fuel and new diesel engines. “This helps to both clean the air and keep good jobs in Tennessee,” said Alexander. “It will reduce pollution, which is damaging to our health and to our state's scenic beauty. It also rewards businesses, such as Cummins, Inc. in Tennessee, for taking aggressive steps to reduce pollution.” Cummins, Inc. has a presence in Chattanooga, Cookeville, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and Sparta. The proposal: ·Authorizes $1 billion over 5 years ($200 million annually); ·Provides that 70 percent of the funds are distributed by EPA; ·Allocates 20 percent of funds to states to develop retrofit programs with an additional 10 percent available as an incentive for state’s to match the federal dollars being provided; ·Establishes priority areas for projects – such as those that are more cost-effective and affect the most amount of people – and focuses the federal program on public fleets; and ·Includes provisions to help develop new technologies, encourage more action through non-financial incentives, and require EPA to outreach to stakeholders and report on the success of the program. The measure was introduced by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) as an amendment to the Energy bill and passed the Senate by a vote of 92 – 1.