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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it expects to award $615,000 to replace or retrofit 29 older diesel school buses in eight Idaho, Oregon and Washington school districts, including the Bend – La Pine School District. The funds are included in awards expected to go to 137 school bus fleets in 40 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new or retrofitted buses will reduce diesel pollutants that are linked to asthma and lung damage, better protecting health and air quality in communities across the country.
“The rebates provide children with a safe and healthy way to get to school by upgrading older diesel engines in our nation’s school buses,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, EPA is equipping local school districts with cleaner-running buses, helping them along the route to healthier kids and communities.”
Applicants scrapping and replacing diesel buses with engine model years 2006 and older will receive rebates between $20,000 and $65,000 per bus, depending on the fuel type of the replacement bus. The 2020 DERA Rebates are the first round in which EPA is offering additional funds for alt-fuel and electric bus replacements. This year, five fleets plan to replace 16 old diesel buses with electric buses.
School districts expected to receive DERA Rebates in the Pacific Northwest include:
- Brown Bus Company, Nampa, Idaho: $200,000 to replace/retrofit ten buses
- Beaverton School District, Beaverton, Oregon: $190,000 to replace/retrofit nine buse
- Bend-La Pine School District, Bend: $125,000 to replace/retrofit five buses
- Klamath Falls City Schools, Klamath Falls, Oregon: $20,000 to replace/retrofit one bus
- Freeman School District, Rockford, Washington: $20,000 to replace/retrofit one bus
- Goldendale School District, Goldendale, Washington: $20,000 to replace/retrofit one bus
- Shelton School District, Shelton, Washington: $20,000 to replace/retrofit one bus
- Tonasket School District, Tonasket, Washington: $20,000 to replace/retrofit one bus
The 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, and other health effects or illnesses that can lead to missed days of work or school.
U.S. school buses collectively travel more than 4 billion miles each year, safely transporting more than 25 million school children every day. However, children are particularly vulnerable to toxic air pollution and exposure to untreated diesel exhaust can have negative health impacts. Fortunately, today’s diesel retrofit technologies can make older school buses much cleaner, which keeps kids healthy and safe. These technologies are cost-effective and have been verified by the EPA to reduce emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide.
Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 1,300 projects across the country, reducing diesel emissions in more than 70,000 engines. A comprehensive list of the 2020 DERA School Bus Rebate recipients can be found at epa.gov/dera/awarded-dera-rebates.
For more information on EPA’s work to reduce diesel emissions from school buses, visit: epa.gov/dera/reducing-diesel-emissions-school-buses.