This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in celebration of Children’s Health Month, announced the availability of approximately $10 million in rebates to public school bus fleet owners for replacing older school buses, helping improve air quality in communities and better protect children’s health. Between 2017 and 2020, more than $32 million is expected to be awarded overall through the effort, helping to replace or retrofit more than 1,700 school buses across the country.
The program goal focuses on improving school bus fleets across the country with retrofits, replacements, and idle reduction practices.
“These improvements are critical to meeting the Agency’s goal of reducing children’s exposure to air toxics,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA (Diesel Emission Reduction Act) funding reflects our ongoing commitment to ensure children live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”
New diesel engines meeting EPA standards are more than 90 percent cleaner than older ones. Many older diesel engines that predate these standards, however, are still in operation. Older diesel engines emit large quantities of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), pollutants which have been linked to serious health problems such as aggravated asthma and lung damage.
Every year, the nation’s 450,000 public school buses travel more than 4.3 billion miles transporting students to and from school and other activities, providing the safest transportation for nearly 24 million American schoolchildren. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed. This is the eighth rebate program to fund cleaner school buses offered under Diesel Emission Reduction Act appropriations. The rebate program has funded vehicle replacements or retrofits for over 2,000 school buses to date.
EPA is accepting applications until Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Questions about applying may be directed to DERA@epa.gov.
To learn more about the rebate program, applicant eligibility, selection process, available technologies, and informational webinar dates, visit www.epa.gov/dera/rebates.