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U.S. EPA Awards $1.4 M in Recovery Funding to Columbus, MS Schools to Reduce Diesel Emissions and Create Jobs

Release Date: 07/16/2009
Contact Information: Kara Belle, (404) 562-8322, belle.kara@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – July 16, 2009) In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, reduce diesel emissions and protect human health and the environment for people of Columbus, Mississippi, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $1,445,851 million to replace and upgrade old school buses. This clean diesel project will create jobs while protecting Columbus’ air quality.

“This grant is a great investment in environmental protection and will provide long-term economic benefits for Mississippi,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Acting Regional Administrator in Atlanta. “This funding will go a long way in helping to bolster the economy and protect public health and the environment by creating green jobs that improve air quality.”

The funds are provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Under this funding competition, EPA Region 4 alone received 98 grant applications requesting more than $140 million to help fund clean diesel emissions projects. The award announced today was chosen to both maximize economic impact and emissions reductions.

This award will fund the replacement of 30 old Columbus school buses with new buses and the installation of direct fire heating units (which prevent cold starts and increase useful life) in 22 other buses. The result will be an estimated vehicle lifetime emissions reduction of 61.43 tons of nitrogen oxides, 1.19 tons of particulate matter, 2.91 tons of CO, and 246.12 tons of CO2.

In addition to helping to create and retain jobs, the clean diesel projects would reduce premature deaths, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days, and many other health impacts every year.

The Recovery Act allotted the National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC) a total of $300 million, of which the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program received $156 million to fund competitive grants across the nation. The Recovery Act also included $20 million for the National Clean Diesel Emerging Technology Program grants and $30 million for the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program grants.

In addition, under the Act’s State Clean Diesel Grant program, a total of $88.2 million has been provided to States for clean diesel projects through a noncompetitive allocation process.

President Obama signed the ARRA of 2009 on Feb. 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can visit Recovery.gov to see how every dollar is being invested.

Learn more about EPA's implementation of the ARRA in Mississippi visit: http://www.epa.gov/recovery/

For information about EPA’s clean diesel initiatives, visit: http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel

For information about the Columbus, Mississippi Municipal School District, visit http://www.columbuscityschools.org/