The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2005, originally introduced as an amendment to the Energy Bill, was passed by the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee last month as a standalone bill.

The bill would authorize $1-billion in grants and loans over a five-year period for voluntary retrofitting of on- and off-road diesel engines to meet stricter emissions standards. Seventy percent of the funds would be earmarked for distribution by the Environmental Protection Agency, 20% allocated to states to develop retrofit programs, and 10% to provide incentives for states to match federal money.

Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH), who introduced the bill, says: “I think the bill is too important for us to wait until the Energy Bill is signed into law.”

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, says, “The [bill] will play an important role in helping deploy more of these clean diesel retrofit technologies to thousands of small businesses and equipment owners who might otherwise not be able to afford to upgrade their equipment.”