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Vermont School District Receives $173,000 EPA Grant for Clean School Buses

Release Date: 03/20/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner (617) 918-1865

(Boston, Mass. - Mar. 20, 2006) - EPA is awarding a grant of $173,000 to replace five school buses that service four towns in southern Vermont. These older buses will be replaced with clean diesel vehicles that meet the new 2007 model year emissions standards.

The $173,000 grant to Windham Northeast Supervisory Union is one of seven "Clean School Bus USA" grants to the Northeast states this year, totaling $1.2 million, and the first of its kind in Vermont. Grant recipients are contributing an additional $2.1 million in matching funds and in-kind services. Last year, Congress appropriated $7.5 million for EPA's Clean School Bus USA Program, which was launched in 2003 to help reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust. Since its inception, the program has funded 74 clean school bus projects nationally.

The Windham District, which includes the towns of Athens, Grafton, Rockingham, and Westminster, will replace five of the district's oldest buses with 2007 model year vehicles that are 10 times cleaner than last year's engines and 60 times cleaner than engines manufactured before 1990. This will reduce soot and other pollutant emissions from school buses by roughly 95%.

"Fleet by fleet, we are eliminating the black puff of diesel smoke that New England's children are exposed to," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "By cleaning up school buses, we are making a safe and reliable service even better for our children's health."

Diesel exhaust particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, including aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems in healthy individuals. New England has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, and diesel engines are significant contributors to air pollution, especially in urban areas. Children are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate.

School buses provide a vital service, safely transporting 1.7 million children in New England to and from school every day. Cleaner school buses help not only the children who ride them, but also their bus drivers, teachers, families, and communities, who all benefit from cleaner air and reduced exposure to diesel exhaust.

More information on clean school buses: http://www.epa.gov/ne/eco/diesel/school_buses.html