The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of approximately $7 million in funding for rebates to public and private school bus fleet owners for the replacement and retrofit of older school buses. Replacing these buses that have older engines will reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality.
"Our kids spend a lot of time on the school bus, and buses spend a lot of time in our neighborhoods and schoolyards. They are a national symbol of safety,” said Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. "Significantly improving school bus fleets across the country with retrofits, replacements, and idle reduction practices is imperative in meeting the Agency’s goal of reducing children’s exposure to air toxics.”
New to this year’s program is the option of implementing retrofit technologies. Fleet owners can install Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOC) plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) systems to reduce emissions by up to 25 percent, and they can replace older buses with newer ones that meet the latest on-highway emission standards as in previous EPA rebate programs. EPA will pay up to $3,000 for each DOC plus CCV, and between $15,000 and $25,000 per replacement bus, depending on the size.
Applicants may request up to 10 buses for replacement and up to 10 buses for the retrofit option on each application. Fleets with more than 101 buses currently in operation may submit two applications.
Many of the nation’s school buses are powered by diesel engines. EPA standards for new diesel engines make them more than 90 percent cleaner than older ones, but many older diesel engines remain in operation and predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large quantities of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These pollutants are linked to health problems, including aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health issues.
Public school bus fleets and those owned privately but contracted with a public school system are eligible to apply for rebates to replace school buses with engine model years of 2006 or older. They may also apply to install DOC plus CCV technology on school buses with engine model years 1994-2006.
EPA will accept applications from September 28 to October 30, 2015.
This is the third rebate program offered under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) reauthorization to fund cleaner school buses. Nearly 25,000 buses across the country have already been made cleaner as a result of DERA funding. Schools and bus companies in EPA Region 7 can contact Greg Crable, (913) 551-7391 or email [email protected], with questions regarding the grant applications.