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EPA Awards Funding to Reduce Diesel Emissions in Mississippi

MDEQ will use funds to continue statewide early replacement school bus program

10/22/2019
Contact Information: 
James Pinkney ( region4press@epa.gov)
(404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

JACKSON, Miss. (October 22, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program grant totaling $478,395 to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) State Clean Diesel Program to support efforts to reduce diesel emissions and exposure throughout the state of Mississippi.

MDEQ will use the grant to continue its rebate program to fund a statewide early replacement school bus program for school districts. Districts in Mississippi will be given an opportunity to apply for assistance in replacing model year 1996-2009 school buses.

“EPA recognizes the importance of cleaning up harmful diesel emissions and working in partnership with states and school districts to protect our children,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “These grants provide not only environmental and health benefits by eliminating exposure to diesel exhaust but promote cost-effectiveness as well. 

“MDEQ looks forward to continuing its successful DERA Program using these grant funds from EPA. The opportunity to help school districts with newer, cleaner bus replacements while reaping the benefit of improved air quality for students and the surrounding communities is a positive benefit for our state,” said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director. 

In FY 2019, EPA awarded more than $9 million in DERA funding for rebates to replace older diesel school buses with newer, cleaner vehicles. Additionally, EPA awarded over $89 million in DERA funding for state, national, and tribal grants to reduce emissions from a variety of diesel emission sources, including school buses, trucks, locomotive, marine engines, and other nonroad equipment.

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% cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants, including particulate matter, which is linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems.

For more information about EPA's National Clean Diesel campaign and DERA program, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

For more information on the MDEQ Diesel Emission Reduction Grant Program visit: https://www.mdeq.ms.gov/air/diesel-emission-reduction-grant-program/

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