The following news release was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Regional Office on March 4.
Two school districts in Maine will receive a total of $40,000 to help pay for new school buses that emit less pollution than the older buses the districts now use.
Maine School Administrative District 49 in the town of Fairfield, and Maine School Administrative District 15 in the town of Gray, will each receive $20,000 to replace one bus in each district. These rebates were made available under EPA’s Clean Diesel Program.
The funds are part of approximately $925,000 that are being awarded to school bus providers in New England to replace 46 buses, in 12 fleets, and of more than $7 million in rebates nationwide to replace or retrofit 400 older diesel school buses in 85 fleets across 35 states.
“Investing in clean diesel school buses will help ensure cleaner air for our children and for all community members,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Thanks to the Clean Diesel Program, thousands of children can breathe easier and enjoy better health.”
“MSAD 49 reaped multiple benefits from the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Clean Diesel Rebate Program,” said Dean Baker, Superintendent of Schools for MSAD 49 in Fairfield. “The district plans to remove an inefficient bus from service while reducing cost to local tax payers by $20,000 through the 2015 School Bus Replacement and Retrofit Grant. By scrapping an obsolete bus the school district will pollute less while gaining fuel efficiency. MSAD 49 deeply appreciates the positive impact of this EPA program.”
“This funding from EPA will help supplement the funding available from the state, which has dwindled over the last few years,” said Diane Boucher, director of finance for MSAD15. “With EPA’s help we can get older buses off the road and save the taxpayer money, and always keeping the safety of the kids as our number one priority.”
Older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage, and other serious health problems. Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.
In 2007, EPA put into effect standards to make newer on-road diesel engines, including school buses, more than 90 percent cleaner. However, many older diesel school buses remain in operation and pre-date these standards. The Clean Diesel Rebate Program, and the other programs under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, work to accelerate the turnover of the national diesel fleet to remove older, more polluting engines out of service.
This was EPA’s third round of the School Bus Rebate Program. Applicants were able to apply for rebates to replace buses or retrofit them with pollution control devices. For replacements, between $15,000 and $25,000 per bus was awarded, depending on the size of the bus, to replace buses with engine model years 2006 and older. New this year, applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engines from model years between 1994 to 2006 with diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase ventilation systems to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fund the purchase and installation of these devices, up to $3,000. Applicants were randomly selected and placed in order on a list until all funds for the program were allocated.
The other New England 2015 school bus rebate recipients were in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Nationally since 2008, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act program has funded more than 650 clean diesel projects across the country, reducing emissions from more than 60,000 engines.
Additionally, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program is currently soliciting funding proposals for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions, particularly from fleets operating in areas designated as poor air quality areas. Proposals are due on Tuesday, April 26.
- Current DERA grant opportunity (closes April 26, 2016): http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants#rfp
- EPA’s diesel rebate program http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates
- Diesel Emissions Reduction Act program http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel