Over $1.3 million in federal funds available for clean school bus projects
June 21, 2007
The U. S. EPA's Western offices are soliciting proposals on a competitive basis for projects that will reduce emissions from existing diesel school buses. Project solicitations may include a variety of diesel emissions reductions solutions, such as add-on pollution control technology, engine or vehicle replacement, idle reduction technologies or strategies, and/or cleaner fuel use. The deadline for submitting applications is August 20, 2007.
"It is vital to reduce diesel emissions given that childhood asthma rates are increasing across the country," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's Pacific Southwest Administrator. "These EPA grants provide our children with cleaner air and healthier environments to learn and grow."
"Getting these old, smoky diesel engines off the road is one of the best things we can do for our kids' health and the environment," said Elin Miller, the EPA's Pacific Northwest Administrator in Seattle. "The work that will be funded by these grants will greatly benefit not only our school districts, but also the surrounding communities."
Children are especially sensitive to air pollution because their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe at a faster rate. More than 25 million children ride in school buses daily, spending, on average, an hour and a half each weekday on the bus. Recent studies suggest that children's school bus commutes can expose them to significantly higher concentrations of pollutants than what is measured in a community's outdoor air.
Statistics show that school buses are the safest way to transport children; the EPA wants to ensure that they are also the cleanest. There are an estimated 400,000 diesel school buses on the road, with roughly one third manufactured before 1990. The pre-1990 school bus fleets are the heaviest polluters and should be replaced. The remaining school buses, manufactured between 1990 and 2006, can be made much cleaner by installing devices designed to reduce pollution and switching to cleaner fuels.
Since 2001, the EPA has awarded over $5.5 million to clean up school buses in the West. Thanks to a $250,000 Clean School Bus USA grant, awarded in April 2006, students in three school districts in Idaho City, Idaho Falls, and Meridian, Idaho, are breathing a lot easier today. The grant allowed them to retrofit 105 buses with both diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase ventilation systems. In addition, nine buses were fitted with fuel-fired heaters to reduce idle emissions.
Funding under the EPA's Clean School Bus USA program supports projects that assist school districts in their efforts to reduce pollution from diesel-powered school buses. The EPA is accepting applications for Clean School Bus USA projects from state and local governments, school districts, local and federally recognized Indian tribal governments and nonprofit organizations.
The EPA's regional offices in San Francisco and Seattle oversee clean air programs in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington - including tribal lands belonging to the federally-recognized tribes in these regions, and territories including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.
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