SPECIAL REPORT: Energy Bill truck upgrades passed, but could take months to start

| 8/17/2005

An amendment to the federal Energy Bill that will provide grants and incentives for truck owners who want to upgrade and/or retrofit their older rigs has passed into law. However, additional details on how truck owners can apply for the money won't be worked out for at least three months.

Land Line originally reported on a version of the amendment, sponsored by Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-CA, in an article titled "Emission Granted?" in the July issue of the magazine.

Millender-McDonald's version of the amendment did not make it into the final draft of the Energy Bill. However, a nearly identical amendment, drafted by Sen. George Voinovich, R-OH, was included, and was made law after President Bush signed the Energy Bill on Monday, Aug. 8.

Under the amendment, the Environmental Protection Agency will be responsible for dividing up approximately $100 million to different state and local interest groups. It is these state and local groups that will be responsible for setting up programs and getting the money into the hands of the truck owners who want to purchase newer, less pollutant trucks and engine upgrades.

The amendment requires the money to be given to the EPA within 90 days of the signing of the bill. However, it could be months before each state sets up its own individual program for the distribution of funds to truck owners.

Anyone with questions about how the funds will be distributed can contact the EPA's Pollution Prevention department at (202) 564-5325.

For the most up-to-date information on the program's progress, listen to "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio, Channel 171, from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. EST, and watch for updates in Land Line's magazine and Web site, www.landlinemag.com. We will be keeping a very close eye on this topic, and will keep you informed of the most current information available.

- By Aaron Ladage, staff writer