Led by EPW Subcommittee Ranking Member Thomas Carper (D-DE), and joined by full EP&W Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and CA&NS Subcommittee Chairwoman Shelley Capito (R-WV), the committee renewed the bill’s $100 million annual funding level authorized by Congress in 2010.
DERA grants, first authorized by Congress in 2005 as part of the Energy Policy Act, are part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Diesel Campaign. These grants include technologies such as emissions and idle control devices, aerodynamic equipment, engine and vehicle replacements, and alternative fuel options. As stipulated in the Act, 70 percent of DERA funds are to be used for national competitive grants, with the remaining 30 percent allocated to the states.
While freight transportation is necessary for any industrialized society and yields tremendous economic benefits for consumers, businesses and government agencies, it can impact air quality in and around port communities. Diesel engines are often used by the vessels, trucks, yard equipment, cranes and train locomotives that transport goods through our nation’s ports.
According to AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle, U.S. ports use DERA grants through a variety of federal, state and local programs, including clean truck initiatives, retrofitting or replacing yard equipment (including locomotives), installing shore power for vessels at docks, and retrofitting dredges and tugs. Since the Act’s inception, 57 percent of AAPA’s U.S. member ports have applied for DERA funding to improve their community’s air quality.
“Reducing air emissions continues to be a high priority for ports, and this program has proven to be very effective at doing that, especially in areas where a port plans to expand, is located in a National Ambient Air Quality Standards non-attainment area, or is close to residential communities,” said Mr. Nagle. “However, DERA grants aren’t only effective at improving air quality. They also stimulate U.S. jobs since diesel equipment manufacturers often assemble their products here in the U.S.”
He noted, however, that current DERA program funding is only half of what Congress authorized six years ago. That legislation called for annual funding through 2017 at the $100 million level.
“AAPA strongly supports a $100 million a year funding level for DERA,” said Mr. Nagle. “Considering the huge benefits it provides both the environment and the economy, it’s worth every penny.”
About AAPA Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2014 totaled 3.48 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.75 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.68 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.36 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.79 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.39 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable. For more information, visit www.aapa-ports.org.