Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
EPA money available for diesel school bus retrofits
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher’s administration is encouraging Kentucky school districts to apply for federal funding for mechanical work or alternative fuels that would reduce harmful emissions from diesel school buses.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has $7.5 million available through its Clean School Bus USA program. Funds are available on a matching basis – up to 95 percent of project cost – with preference given to applicants requesting a lower percentage of grant money, interested in implementing idling reduction programs, or in areas that failed to meet federal clean-air standards.
The goal of the program is to reduce diesel fuel emissions, which have been linked to increased rates of asthma, lung disease and cancer. According to EPA, some studies suggest that children on school buses are exposed to higher concentrations of pollutants than what is measured in a community’s outdoor air.
“The goal of this administration has been to improve the quality of life for all Kentuckians,” Governor Fletcher said. “That certainly includes having cleaner air and doing all we can to make school buses safer and healthier while they transport our children.”
LaJuana S. Wilcher, secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, said she, too, encouraged all school districts to apply for the EPA funds.
“This program gives Kentucky schools an opportunity to lead the way in achieving pollution reductions that will improve air quality and public health not only for our children but for all citizens of the Commonwealth,” Wilcher said.
Money from the Clean School Bus USA grant can help pay for a range of retrofitting projects, including diesel oxidation catalysts, closed crankcase systems and diesel particular filters, among others. It also can be used to help purchase cleaner-burning alternative fuels, such as ultra-low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel. Total replacement of older buses and engines also can be funded. EPA is especially interested in replacement of buses made before 1977.
The deadline for applications is July 22, 2005. Information is available from the Kentucky Division for Air Quality in Frankfort – (800) 928-0047 – or from the EPA Web site, http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/