El Cajon, CA (May 6, 2022) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe joined Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD). That’s at an event to celebrate the adoption of zero-emission battery-electric school buses that will reduce diesel emissions and protect children’s health. Moreover, the five buses were bought using $1 million in EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding with $1.1 million from the California Air Resources Board and $200,820 from CVUSD.

Over the lifetime of the buses, they will conserve nearly 71,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Deputy Administrator McCabe also spoke about a forthcoming new Clean School Bus rebate program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It provides an unprecedented $5 billion over five years to replace existing school buses with low- or zero-emission school buses.

Electric buses will reduce diesel emissions and protect children’s health

“Pollution from school bus exhaust not only contaminates the air but can have serious health impacts on residents, especially children,” said EPA’s Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “EPA is proud to recognize Cajon Valley Union School District and its efforts to reduce bus emissions, which will help protect kids and parents from harmful particles, and fight climate change.”

“Cajon Valley Union School District is proud to be forward aligned in everything we do for our staff, students, and community,” said Cajon Valley Union School District Governing Board President Tamara Otero. “The electrification of our buses and installation of charging stations created to benefit our employees, students and community is another great example of making this the best place to work, play, and raise a family, today and tomorrow!”

“No kid should be blasted with toxic air pollution on their way to school. The California Air Resources Board wants to make sure that kids in all communities can ride safely and in style in modern zero-emission buses,” said CARB Deputy Executive Officer Craig Segall. “We love to see what CVUSD is doing with state and federal support to protect schoolchildren and families in El Cajon.”

Increasing air quality

By replacing legacy heavy-duty diesel school buses with zero-emission buses, this project is eliminating school bus tailpipe emissions. It’s in a community disproportionately seeing an impact by diesel exhaust and poor air quality. Exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions. For example, asthma and respiratory illnesses and can worsen existing heart and lung disease, especially in children and the elderly.  These conditions can result in more numbers of emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Not to mention, absences from work and school, and premature deaths.

Over the lifetime of the five new electric buses, they will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 3.8 tons. They will also reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 0.3 tons, and hydrocarbons by 0.5 tons. Moreover, also reduces carbon monoxide by 1.9 tons, and carbon dioxide by 493 tons.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Clean School Bus Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide an unprecedented $5 billion over five years for the Clean School Bus Program. The goal is to replace existing school buses with cleaner models. In Spring 2022, EPA plans to announce a new rebate program. Applicants can replace polluting buses with low- or zero-emission models. Moreover, the EPA may prioritize applications that replace school buses in high need local educational agencies. That’s in addition to low-income and rural areas, and Tribal schools. Also, the agency may prioritize applications that provide cost-sharing.

Source: EPA Press Office

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