WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bush administration has released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2007, which begins Oct. 1, 2006. Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement in response to the President’s $50 million request for programs supported by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) – a bipartisan law authored by Sens. George Voinovich (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE): “The President's support for clean diesel retrofit funding is a critical first step, and a victory for the broad coalition of over 200 environmental, industry and government organizations that has called for a new national program. While $50 million is a solid start, we urge Congress to finance this important clean air program at $200 million as originally authorized. “For cities and states struggling to meet strict new air quality standards, clean diesel retrofit projects have proven themselves to be one of the most cost-effective, immediate solutions for reducing key emissions. By an overwhelming 92 to 1 vote, the U.S. Senate recognized the clean air benefits of diesel retrofit and attached DERA to last year's energy bill. “Since then, a bipartisan group of Senate leaders - including Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), three key members of the Appropriations Committee [Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sens. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Mike DeWine (R-OH)], and Sen. Carper, ranking member of the Clean Air Subcommittee – signaled their support for full DERA funding by sending letters to administration budget officials in December. In addition, over 200 organizations representing state and local government officials, diesel users, environmental groups and diesel manufacturers sent the President a letter in November requesting $200 million for DERA programs. “The President's proposal is a solid single, but we're calling on Congress to hit a home run for cleaner air by appropriating $200 million for clean diesel retrofit programs.”