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Clean Diesel Benefits San Antonio

Release Date: 5/12/2004
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      At a kickoff event for the San Antonio area's Adopt-A-School Bus program today, EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene announced the Bush administration's Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule will cut emission levels from construction, agricultural and industrial diesel engines by more than 90 percent.  The rule was signed by EPA Administrator Leavitt yesterday.

      "These new clean air developments are certain to help San Antonio achieve cleaner air," Greene said.  "Our scientists expect the health benefits to exceed those resulting from removing lead in gasoline and installing catalytic converters on cars more than 10 years ago. Local voluntary measures including San Antonio's Adopt-A-School Bus program sets this community apart as a leader.  The Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule is part of a suite of rules proposed by the administration to give communities across the nation additional tools to meet new, stricter, health-based air quality standards."

      Emissions from diesel school buses can be harmful to children with breathing difficulties such as asthma.  The Adopt-A-School Bus program will help area school districts replace or retrofit aging diesel school buses with cleaner technologies, use cleaner burning fuels and implement anti-idling measures.  More than a third of Texas school buses are more than a decade old, built long before our new, stricter air pollution standards.  Some scientists estimate that, in a single year, the average school bus emits as much soot as 114 cars. The President's 2005 budget proposal includes $60 million in new funding for clean air buses.

      Comal County Commissioner and Chair of the San Antonio Regional Air Improvement Resources Committee Jay Millikin said, "Without these national tools, local solutions can only go so far. The federal resources for clean school buses will help us increase the velocity of our improvements to air quality, providing a healthier environment for children."

      When the full inventory of older nonroad engines has been replaced, the nonroad diesel program will annually prevent as many as 1000 premature deaths in Texas.  Nationwide, the rules will prevent as many as 12,000 premature deaths, one million lost work days, 15,000 heart attacks and 6,000 children's asthma-related emergency room visits. The overall benefits of the nonroad diesel program are estimated to outweigh the costs by a ratio of 40 to one.

      Last month, EPA announced its determination of the air quality in communities across the nation.  In Texas, EPA determined most communities, except Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Beaumont-Port Arthur, and San Antonio areas, meet the stricter national standard for ozone.  Ozone is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight.

      More information on EPA's Clean Air Rules of 2004 is available at  Information about San Antonio's Adopt-A-School Bus program is available at