ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) – Roanoke County is getting money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Four school systems in Virginia are getting money including Roanoke County Public Schools who will get $215,000.
This comes after Roanoke County launched the first propane bus operation in the area in fall 2015. With 10 new propane buses that year more than 1,000 students in the Glenvar area started riding the new buses. The EPA money is a rebate for those buses.
Roanoke County spent about $100,000 per bus so the rebate covers the cost of two of the buses.
The EPA is giving out more than $7.7 million to replace or retrofit 401 older diesel school buses across the country. The new and retrofitted buses reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.
News release from the EPA:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded more than $7.7 million to replace or retrofit 401 older diesel school buses. The funds are going to 88 school bus fleets in 27 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.
“Thanks to DERA funding, we are protecting our children from breathing diesel emissions as they travel to school,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Nearly 17,000 of our country’s schools are located within steps of a heavily traveled road, potentially exposing more than six million children to traffic-related pollution at a time when their developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.”
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $25,000, 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 plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation system (DOC plus CCV) to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $4,000.
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.