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EPA gives Paradise Valley school district $300,000 to reduce pollution from school buses

Release Date: 11/25/2003
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

PHOENIX -- As part of a $5 million Clean School Bus USA grant program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri today awarded the Paradise Valley Unified School District $300,000 to reduce pollution from its school buses.

Regional Administrator Nastri presented the grant to Paradise Valley school district officials along with principals, teachers and students at an event at the Mountain Trail Middle School in Arizona. With the EPA funds, the district will retrofit 20 buses with dust and soot filters and fuel 114 buses with ultra-low sulfur diesel, introducing the fuel to an area where it is not yet available.

The PVUSD is one of 17 grantees announced as part of the initiative, which aims to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust across the United States by: (1) encouraging policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary school bus idling; (2) installing effective emission control systems on newer buses; and (3) replacing the oldest buses in the fleet with new ones. Replacement options may include buses powered by clean diesel or compressed natural gas.

"Clean School Bus USA allows the EPA to partnership with school districts to aggressively reduce pollution from diesel school buses while helping upgrade the nation's public school bus fleet with technologies that reduce emissions," said Nastri. "Cleaner buses mean cleaner air and that translates into fewer respiratory ailments, fewer school days lost to illness, and a healthier future for all our kids -- and school districts like Paradise Valley are leading the way."

"This is a significant event because the most important thing to all of us is the health of our children," said Tom Horn, the superintendent for the Arizona Department of Education. "Air quality is a major factor in our childrens' health and we're obligated to give it our highest priority."

The PVUSD is the third largest in Arizona, with more than 34,000 students. The district, encompassing 98 square miles in northeast Phoenix and northwest Scottsdale, has been a leader in the use of alternative fuels. The district operates a fleet of 175 school buses and approximately 250 support vehicles. Of that total, approximately 115 vehicles have compressed natural gas (CNG) engines or retrofits that allow them to use either CNG or gasoline.

While Phoenix has made great strides in controlling ozone, or smog, and carbon monoxide (CO) pollution in recent years, the area does not meet the federal health standard for particulates. The clean bus program can help the area attain the standard and help control smog and CO.

The EPA received 120 applications and 17 projects were selected. Those selected will provide a total of $4.7 million in matching funds. More information about Clean School Bus USA and the complete list of grantees is available at or for overall information on healthy school environments, visit: