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Bus Funds Reduce Iowa Children's Exposure to Diesel Exhaust

Release Date: 08/19/2008
Contact Information: EPA Region 7: David W. Bryan, (913) 551-7433, bryan.david@epa.gov; Iowa Bus Emission Education Program: Mindy Kralicek, (515) 281-7832, Mindy.Kralicek@dnr.iowa.gov


Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., August 19, 2008) - EPA Region 7 and the Blue Skyways Collaborative will work with the Iowa Bus Emission Education Program (BEEP) to reduce Iowa children's exposure to diesel exhaust through a special $256,479 grant for school bus replacements. The grant award will leverage an additional $312,125 from the Iowa BEEP program partners and participating school districts.

The program will provide funding to replace eight school buses for Iowa schools that would not be able to replace them through any other means.

All Iowa school districts with diesel bus engines from 1981 (oldest year diesel bus engine still operating in Iowa school districts' fleet) through 1992 in daily route use are eligible to apply for the matching grant. Currently there are 571 school buses in this age category: approximately 40 percent of these are used on daily routes.

Since its inception in 2002, BEEP has funded the installation of 541 diesel oxidation catalysts on school buses and supported the use of biodiesel in every school district where the fuel is available through two grants provided by EPA.

State officials believe by placing new school buses in districts where financial assistance is most needed, these schools will benefit from a cleaner environment, have the opportunity to experience how new cleaner technology operates first-hand, and will serve as a showcase for new technology that more financially strong school districts can adopt.

School buses are the safest way for children to get to school. However, pollution from older diesel vehicles has health implications for everyone, especially children. By working together, we can reduce pollution from public school buses – making sure that school buses are also a clean way for children to get to school.

As a provision of the Clean School Bus program, grant recipients must develop policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary public school bus idling. It also encourages upgrading entire fleets of buses with better emission-control technologies and/or fueling them with cleaner fuels. School districts are also encouraged, when possible, to replace the oldest buses with new, less-polluting buses.

The partnership between EPA, the Blue Skyways Collaborative, Iowa BEEP and the school districts is designed to help reduce air pollution in the state of Iowa by bringing together partners from business, education, transportation, and public-health organizations. BEEP is a collaborative effort to reduce childhood exposure to harmful diesel exhaust through reducing emissions in school bus fleets. The partners include the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI), the Iowa Association of School Boards, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Education, and the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association.

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