The EPA’s Western offices are soliciting proposals on a competitive basis for projects that will reduce emissions from existing diesel school buses. Project solicitations may include a variety of diesel emissions reductions solutions, such as add-on pollution control technology, engine or vehicle replacement, idle reduction technologies or strategies, and/or cleaner fuel use. The deadline for submitting applications is August 20, 2007.
Children are especially sensitive to air pollution because their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe at a faster rate. More than 25 million children ride in school buses daily, spending, on average, an hour and a half each weekday on the bus. Recent studies suggest that children’s school bus commutes can expose them to significantly higher concentrations of pollutants than what is measured in a community’s outdoor air.
There are an estimated 400,000 diesel school buses on the road, with roughly one-third manufactured before 1990. The pre-1990 school bus fleets are the heaviest polluters and should be replaced, according to the EPA. The remaining school buses, manufactured between 1990 and 2006, can be made much cleaner by installing devices designed to reduce pollution and switching to cleaner fuels.
Since 2001, the EPA has awarded more than $5.5 million to clean up school buses in the West. The EPA’s regional offices in San Francisco and Seattle oversee clean air programs in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington—including tribal lands belonging to the federally-recognized tribes in these regions, and territories including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.