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EPA Grant Helps Montgomery and Bourbon County School Boards Reduce Children's Exposure to Diesel School Bus Emissions

Release Date: 05/24/2007
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, GA - May 24, 2007) As part of EPA’s Clean School Bus USA program, the Southeast Diesel Collaborative presented a grant for $171,000 to the School Boards of Montgomery and Bourbon Counties, KY, to retrofit 51 buses with EPA-verified diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate filters. Although these Counties attain the current ozone and fine particulate matter ambient air quality standards, they are undertaking the retrofits as part of a strategy of emissions reductions aimed to avoid future non-attainment designations. The grant to the School Board is one of four being awarded in the Southeast this year, totaling $680,000.

“We are pleased with Montgomery and Bourbon Counties work to improve the environment by reducing the impact of diesel pollution on children’s health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer. “EPA is committed to working with school systems to cut pollution from school buses and reduce the health risks to children.”

Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, Deputy Secretary Lloyd Cress commended the district for all its clean-bus efforts. “Retrofitting bus engines, using cleaner-burning alternative fuels and reducing unnecessary idling will benefit air quality and children’s health,” Cress said.

The grant is part of agency’s Clean School Bus USA program and will be used to fund exhaust filters to reduce diesel emissions. The diesel oxidation catalysts that will be installed on the buses will reduce emissions of fine particulates by at least 30 percent, hydrocarbons by at least 50 percent and carbon monoxide emissions by at least 30 percent. Not only will the retrofit devices improve air quality outside the buses, but will also reduce in-cabin emissions for sensitive students. These emission reductions will improve air quality for the 6,883 students that attend school in Montgomery and Bourbon Counties.

“I hope that this program will help our students learn the importance of stewardship for the environment,” Montgomery County School superintendent Dr. Daniel Freeman said. “I am glad that we are able to do our part in making our community a better place to live and work.”

Over the past 3 years the U.S. EPA has awarded $11 million to 61 grants to school districts, air quality districts and other entities to help reduce school bus diesel emissions through a variety of retrofit and alternative fuel campaigns. The goal of the Southeast Diesel Collaborative is to improve air quality by encouraging the use of clean, renewable energy and by reducing diesel emissions from existing engines and equipment from the agriculture, heavy construction and on-road sectors. For more information visit the Southeast Diesel Collaborative website at www.southeastdiesel.org.