The California South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) recently approved nearly $3 million to replace 15 of the region’s oldest diesel school buses with new, natural gas-powered buses.
AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Health studies continue to show the importance of reducing children’s exposure to air pollution and particularly harmful diesel exhaust.
Today’s action puts us one step closer to our goal of replacing all dirty diesel school buses in the Southland with cleaner technology.—William Burke, Governing Board Chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD approved the funding to purchase new compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses as well as CNG fueling stations for five school districts. The program is funded by $2.1 million from the state and $857,750 from AQMD. The California Legislature last year approved $12.5 million to replace 89 of the oldest buses statewide.
AQMD has a number of policies and incentives to replace dirty diesel school buses with alternative fuel models, including:
Rule 1195, adopted in 2001, requiring that school districts purchase alternative fuel buses, when they replace older ones, if outside funding is available;
Approval of $55.8 million to date to replace 357 older diesel buses with 271 new CNG and 86 lower-emitting diesel buses, and retrofitted more than 2,100 buses with particulate traps;
Soliciting applications for $14 million in funding to replace older buses and $5.45 million to retrofit additional buses with particulate traps.
In a recent evaluation of the condition of school buses by the Union of Concerned Scientists, California received a “C” grade on soot pollution but a “Good” rating for its clean-up program. (Earlier post.)