(Lenexa, Kan) – Four Nebraska school districts were awarded $100,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to replace five older diesel school buses. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage. The districts, cities, number of buses, and award amounts are listed below:
School District City Number of Buses Amount
Hayes Center High School Hayes Center 1 $20,000
Johnson County Central Public Schools Tecumseh 1 $20,000
Palmer Public School (North of Grand Island) Palmer 1 $20,000
South Platte Public Schools Big Springs 2 $40,000
“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”
Nationally, EPA will provide more than $9.3 million to 145 school bus fleets to replace 473 older buses in 43 states or territories, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding.
Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the bus. Regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or private entities that operate school buses under contract with state, tribal or local agencies were eligible to apply.
Over the last seven years, EPA has awarded approximately $39 million in rebates to replace almost 2,000 school buses. Bus replacements funded through the rebate program reduce emissions and exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides for children at schools, bus stops, and on the buses themselves.
School buses travel over 4 billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.
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.
The 2018 DERA school bus rebate recipients can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/awarded-rebates.