Cleaner School Buses Mean Healthier Kids

Tucson, AZ - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will provide local communities around the country with more than $7 million in grants to reduce kids' exposure to harmful exhaust from their school buses. The grants will help fund the cleanup of more than 500 tons of diesel emissions from 4000 school buses nationwide.

"Today's clean school bus grants mean that the only thing pouring out of school buses will be students – not diesel emissions," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "President Bush and EPA are committed to making that black puff of diesel smoke from school buses something you only read about in history books."

EPA awarded 37 grants totaling $7.5 million as part of the Clean School Bus USA program, which reduces children's exposure to diesel exhaust. The initiative encourages policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary school bus idling, the installation of effective emission control systems on newer buses and the replacement of the oldest buses with cleaner diesel or compressed natural gas powered buses. The grant recipients are contributing an additional $13 million in matching funds and in-kind services.

Johnson made the announcement in Arizona accompanied by local officials of the Tucson Unified School District. Tucson is matching its $500,000 EPA grant with $6.5 million it raised towards the purchase of more than 60 new compressed natural gas buses. The effort will improve the air quality for 67,000 students and school employees. The school district operates 308 buses that ferry 16,000 children to and from school, traveling 4.7 million miles annually.