CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The Senate amendment to H.R. 5809 is expected to be considered on the House floor on Friday, December 17, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) introduced H.R. 5809 on July 21, 2010, and the House approved it by voice vote on September 22, 2010. H.R. 5809 was then called the "Safe Drug Disposal Act of 2010." The Senate struck the language in H.R. 5809, replaced it with new language and renamed it the "Diesel Emission Reduction Act of 2010." The Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent on December 16, 2010.
The bill would reauthorize for five years, through Fiscal Year 2016, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program. The legislation would also attempt to modify the program.
Changes to Program: The bill would expand eligibility requirements for grants and low-cost loans offered to include individual owners and other private entities that manage diesel vehicle fleets and are contractors with the federal government.
The bill would attempt to modify the program by adding a competitive bidding process for groups seeking funding. It would also require 95 percent of funds appropriated to be expended in a given year on grants to eligible program participants.
Authorization: The bill would authorize $100 million annually from Fiscal Year 2012 through 2016.
GAO Audit of Diesel Emission Programs: The measure also would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to carry out an audit to identify all mobile source clean air grant, rebate, or low cost revolving loan programs under the EPA, Department of Transpiration and other agencies, that are designed to address diesel emissions from, or reduce diesel fuel usage by, diesel engines and vehicle. The GAO would be directed to review whether there is overlap, duplication or gaps in the programs.
The 2005 Energy Policy Act created an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that provides grants and low-cost loans for school districts and other entities to retrofit school buses and other diesel vehicles to meet increasing emission standards for diesel powered vehicles. The program is currently authorized through Fiscal Year 2011.
Some Members may be concerned that this legislation would authorize the appropriation of a total of $500 million at a time when the U.S. is running record deficits and debt.
As of press time, CBO had not released a score of the legislation, but the bill would authorize the appropriation of $100 million annually for five years.