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EPA Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative awards $100,000 to Minnesota Environmental Initiative

Release Date: 07/10/2007
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA105

EPA Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative awards $100,000 to Minnesota Environmental Initiative

CHICAGO (July 10, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative has awarded almost $100,000 to the Minnesota Environmental Initiative's Project Green Fleet to help retrofit at least 100 diesel-powered school buses and 19 heavy-duty diesel trucks in Minnesota public fleets with emission reduction equipment.

The school districts getting bus grants are Bloomington, Duluth, Eden Prairie, Edina, Saint Louis Park, Saint Paul, and Independent School District 196 serving the Rosemount, Apple Valley and Eagan areas. Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Independent own their own buses, and the rest have bus contractors.

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and Washington and Hennepin counties will get heavy-duty diesel truck retrofits for 15 vehicles, and private firms working on the new Twins stadium construction will get retrofits for four vehicles.

"Breathing diesel exhaust is not good for anyone," said EPA Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "We are working with our partners in the public and private sector to upgrade diesel-powered school buses and trucks so that students and everyone else can breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives."

EPA's Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative is a collaboration of federal, state and local agencies along with communities, non-profit organizations and private companies working together to reduce emissions from diesel engines in the Midwest. MCDI estimates more than 3 million engines in the Midwest would benefit from new pollution-reduction technology.

The school bus grant is part of EPA's Clean School Bus USA program. The goal of the program is to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses.

Diesel emissions contain large amounts of nitrogen oxides and fine particles (soot). Nitrogen oxides are precursors of ozone, more commonly known as smog, which is a lung irritant. Fine particles can aggravate respiratory and heart diseases as well as affect lung function and structure.

More information on MCDI is at www.epa.gov/midwestcleandiesel, and more information on Clean School Bus USA is at http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus.

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