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EPA grant for DC public school buses to reduce diesel exhaust pollution

Release Date: 04/29/2008
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, smith.bonnie@epa.gov, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA (April 29, 2008) In the next year, students who ride buses to and from the District of Columbia Public Schools will be breathing cleaner air, thanks to a grant presented today from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce pollution in diesel-powered school buses.

EPA mid-Atlantic region's Clean School Bus program awarded $224,540 to the District Department of the Environment to retrofit 22 public school buses with pollution control technologies. The District’s Division of Transportation provides transportation to nearly 4,000 special needs students throughout the Metropolitan Washington-area. When the pollution control devices are installed, students' exposure to diesel exhaust will be decreased because soot and other pollutants emitted from buses will be substantially reduced.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with the District's public schools to reduce school bus emissions," said EPA's Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh. “Breathing diesel exhaust can be harmful, especially for children with asthma. EPA's work with school districts to upgrade buses will help students breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives,” said Welsh

The grant will be used by the school district to install diesel particulate filters on approximately 22 diesel-powered buses. The equipment, in combination with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, will reduce pollution emissions from the diesel buses by 60 to 90 percent

EPA launched its Clean School Bus USA program to help reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust because particles in diesel exhaust can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose health risks, including aggravating asthma symptoms. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel emissions and air pollution because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate.

For information on Clean School buses, other National Clean Diesel programs and project funding see http://www.epa.gov/diesel. Check out Scholastic's Miss Frizzle in “The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up” at http://ww.epa.gov/otaq/schoolbus/msb-book.htm.