DERA Grants Have Helped Improve Air Quality For Entire Metropolitan Areas
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) today applauded congressional passage of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010,orDERA, which now goes to President Obama to be signed into law. The bipartisan bill, introduced on the Senate side as S. 3973 by Sens. George Voinovich (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE), and on the House side as HR 6482 by Reps. Laura Richardson (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), is a five-year reauthorization of the beneficial 2005 legislation that established a voluntary national and state-level grant and loan program to reduce diesel emissions.
According to AAPA President Kurt Nagle, the ports association has strongly advocated for the bill's reauthorization, and grants available through DERA have been invaluable in reducing emissions from older diesel engines, including those in use at America's seaports along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts.
"The DERA program helps ensure that verified emissions reduction technologies are put into place earlier than would happen otherwise," said Mr. Nagle. "Reducing emissions from diesel engines provides significant public health benefits for port communities and port workers. Lowering emissions from engines used in ships, trucks, trains and other port-related freight handling equipment has improved air quality for entire metropolitan areas."
Mr. Nagle further noted that DERA grants support American jobs. The program provides grants to fund engine upgrades and retrofits, many of which are manufactured in the United States. He said that installation of new engines or retrofit technology is usually done on or near the site where the engine is used, further benefiting U.S. employment.
Seaports deliver prosperity for America by moving billions of dollars worth of cargo each year-activities which annually contribute some $3 trillion to the U.S. economy and support more than 13 million American jobs. Critical components of these "economic engines" are the diesel engines that power the ports' cargo-handling equipment, drayage trucks and harbor craft, such as tugs, towboats and ferries.
Yet, diesel engines often contribute to reduced air quality, as older engines emit higher levels of particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) than do newer technologies. As larger vessels enter U.S. waters bringing more cargo, ports must expand their landside operations to accommodate this growth, resulting in greater truck and rail traffic to and from the ports and increases in equipment used to load and unload cargo.
While increasing trade yields tremendous economic benefits, America's public port agencies strive to both meet the nation's commerce needs and be good stewards of the coastal environment, and have used DERA grants to reduce emissions in some of the country's most densely populated areas.