HOISINGTON — The Hoisington school district is one of 20 Kansas school districts to be awarded $640,000 from the Environmental to replace older diesel school buses. It’s part of a $8.7 million nationwide effort to replace or retrofit 452 older diesel school buses in order to reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung disease. Districts will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding.
At the Monday, March 5 meeting of the USD 431 Board of Education, members accepted the rebate, which will be used towards the purchase of a new yellow bus the district will use as an activities bus, and as a spare for routes. The last of the district’s older buses will be taken out of service, Superintendent Bill Lowry said.
“This has been a good program for us,” he added.
“These rebates are an innovative way to improve air quality across the country and provide kids with safe, reliable transportation to and from school,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, EPA is equipping local school districts with cleaner-running school buses, helping them along the route to healthier kids and communities.”
“Since the EPA launched its Clean School Bus USA program 15 years ago, the agency has been working to ensure that the safest way 26 million students get to school, the iconic yellow school bus, is also one of the healthiest,” said Charlie Hood, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. “The DERA School Bus Replacement program has been instrumental in helping school districts and contractors replace older diesel school buses with newer buses that drastically reduce airborne emissions. The program is one of the most administratively simple within the federal government and has been extremely cost-effective at achieving its intended goals. America’s students and taxpayers are the beneficiaries.”
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the bus. Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years between 1994 to 2006 with a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst, Closed Crankcase Ventilation system, and Fuel Operated Heater to reduce toxic emissions. All Region 7 rebates will go to the replacement of school buses.
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.
Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 700 clean diesel projects across the country, reducing emissions in more than 70,000 engines.
USD 401 Chase-Raymond also received a $20,000 grant from the EPA.