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EPA Grant Helps Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Reduce Children’s Exposure to Diesel School Bus Emissions

Release Date: 12/17/2007
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, GA – December 17, 2007) As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus USA program, the Southeast Diesel Collaborative presented the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) with a grant award for $250,000 to install diesel retrofit devices on 40 school buses in Sumner County, Tennessee. Tennessee is undertaking the retrofits as part of a strategy of emissions reductions aimed to avoid future air quality non-attainment designations.

"EPA is proud to recognize the efforts of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for their efforts to improve air quality and protect public health,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator. “Emissions from diesel engines are a serious public health threat and environmental challenge, as well as a priority for EPA.”

The Sumner County schools are also commended for adopting an idle reduction policy that includes specific actions school bus drivers should take to eliminate unnecessary idling, further reducing diesel engine emissions. Additionally, Sumner County is using biodiesel fuel in all 220 buses in their county fleet.

The TDEC grant is one of three being awarded in the Southeast this year, totaling $670,000, and is part of the agency’s Clean School Bus USA program. This grant will be used to fund a combination of retrofit technologies that will include closed crankcase ventilation systems and diesel particulate filters. This equipment to be installed on the buses will reduce particulate matter emissions by approximately 27 tons per year, hydrocarbons by approximately 56 tons per year, and carbon monoxide emissions by approximately 270 tons per year. Additionally, the retrofit devices will not only improve air quality outside the buses, but will also reduce in-cabin emissions affecting sensitive student passengers.

This year, EPA awarded 43 grants nationally 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 and public health by reducing emissions from existing diesel engines. For more information visit the Southeast Diesel Collaborative website at www.southeastdiesel.org.