PHILADELPHIA (April 24, 2020) – In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $780,000 today to replace 39 older diesel school buses in Virginia. The funds are among $11.5 million going to replace 580 older diesel school buses in 157 school bus fleets in 43 states and Puerto Rico, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage. In Virginia, the funds are going to:
Amherst City Public Schools ($80,000)
Giles County Public Schools ($100,000)
Halifax City Public Schools ($200,000)
Loudoun County Schools ($200,000)
Roanoke County Public Schools ($200,000)
“As we continue to celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, EPA continues to be committed to providing communities access to rebates to improve and replace aging school buses that will improve air quality across the country and provide children with a safe and healthy way to get to school,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “While many fleets are currently off the road as we all social distance during COVID-19, these local school districts will start up again, and EPA is proud to have helped equip them with cleaner running buses.”
“With all the challenges our public schools face, DERA helps school districts replace their old school buses with new ones that are more cost-effective and meet standards for reduced emissions, which means cleaner air,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “This 50th Earth Day is a great opportunity to highlight how this program has been a boon for both local taxpayers and the environment.”
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000 per bus, depending on the size of the bus.
EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems.
“The EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act plays an important role in reducing pollutants that are linked to health problems,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman (Virginia, 5th District). “I am grateful for Ambassador Wheeler’s work to improve our environment and excited to see Halifax county benefit from this program by receiving an upgraded school bus fleet. This is great news for the 5th District that will help students as well as improve air quality in our community.”
“The Loudoun County Public School system has been a longtime leader for sustainability in our community,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (Virginia, 10th District). “Their ambitious efforts over the years to create greener learning environments for our students have saved taxpayer dollars and contributed significantly to improving our public and environmental health. This federal grant to replace older diesel school buses will make an important difference in our local efforts to build a healthy and sustainable future for our kids here in Loudoun County.”
Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 1,000 clean diesel projects across the country, reducing emissions in more than 70,000 engines. A comprehensive list of the 2020 DERA school bus recipients can be found at www.epa.gov/dera/awarded-dera-rebates.
For more information about the DERA program, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel