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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Awards Nearly $2 Million in Funding to Replace and Upgrade School Buses in Fulton County, Georgia

Clean Diesel Grant to Reduce 35.97 Tons of Nitrogen Oxides, Increase Clean School Bus Fleet

10/23/2019
Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young (region4press@epa.gov)
(404) 562-8421 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA (Oct. 23, 2019) – In celebration of Children’s Health Month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker presented a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program grant totaling $1,990,838 to the Fulton County School System in Georgia to curb harmful pollution from school buses.

In recognition of Children’s Health Month, EPA is highlighting the work that the Fulton County School system has conducted to reduce the impacts of diesel emissions with the early retirement of older, dirtier school buses,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Combined with the clean school bus idle reduction policy, the school system has demonstrated a strong commitment to children’s health and the environment.”

“When Fulton County Schools return from the winter break in January, we will crank 402 new propane powered school buses. This will represent 52 % of the buses transporting FCS students,” said Superintendent Mike Looney. “FCS and the Board of Education are grateful to the Federal EPA and Georgia DNR for the opportunity to leverage these grants with local SPLOST dollars to retire older, diesel buses from the road.  FCS is also proud to be the first district in Georgia to team-up the funding for cleaner burning propane powered buses with the addition of three-point seat belts to provide an environmentally friendly and safest possible ride for our students.”

“The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is excited to partner with EPA and the Fulton County School System to replace older diesel school buses with new propane buses,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn.  “This will dramatically reduce emissions and create a healthier environment for school children, bus drivers, mechanics, teachers, and communities where the buses operate.”

This grant will allow Fulton County to fund the early retirement of 83 diesel-powered school buses and replace them with new propane-powered buses. The buses to be replaced are all model year 2006 and 2007 diesel school buses. This investment will reduce about 35.97 tons of nitrogen oxides and will increase the number of propane buses in the school fleet to about 400.  

To date, the Fulton County School System has received a total of $6,607,956.45 to replace 349 older diesel school buses with rebates through EPA's DERA funding.

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.

To learn more about what EPA is doing to protect children’s health, visit: https://www.epa.gov/children.