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South Carolina Department of Education Receives $244,500 for Clean School Buses

Release Date: 03/19/2008
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – March 19, 2008) As part of EPA’s Clean School Bus USA program, the Southeast Diesel Collaborative presented a grant for $244,500 to the South Carolina Department of Education. The Department of Education, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, will Install anti-idling devises and retrofit crankcase filtration systems on 500 school buses throughout the state. South Carolina is undertaking the retrofits as part of a strategy of emissions reductions to avoid future non-attainment designations. The state is also using biodiesel fuel in all 5,768 buses in the statewide fleet. The grant is one of three being awarded in the Southeast this year, totaling $680,000.

“We are pleased with South Carolina's 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.”

The grant is part of agency’s Clean School Bus USA program and will be used to fund idle reduction devices and crankcase filtration systems to reduce diesel emissions. This strategy will be installed on the buses to reduce emissions by at least 193 pounds annually based upon 78 million miles driven by 5,025 daily bus routes. Not only will the retrofit devices improve air quality outside the buses, but will also reduce in-cabin emissions. Also, notable is the existing partnership with the Bureau of Air Quality to implement a Breathe Better Air at School program which unites the efforts of students, faculty, staff, community and local agencies to reduce air pollution on school campuses. These emission reductions will improve air quality for the 677,000 students that attend school throughout the state of South Carolina, 52% of who take one of 701 daily student trips on special needs buses.

This year, EPA nationally awarded 43 grants totaling $7.5 million through the National Clean Diesel Campaign and the Clean School Bus USA program, 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.