EPA Takes Action to Hold School Bus Idling Violators Accountable in Four Massachusetts Communities
Companies Will Implement Anti-Idling Programs and Pay Penalties under the Clean Air Act
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled enforcement actions against two companies that violated state and federal clean air standards by allowing excessive idling of school buses at locations in four Massachusetts communities.
The first settlement resolved EPA's allegations that AA Transportation Co., Inc. of Shrewsbury, Mass. allowed excessive idling of school buses at three locations: two locations in Shrewsbury, and one in Webster, Mass. A separate settlement resolved EPA's allegations that Michael J. Connolly & Sons, Inc. of Walpole, Mass. allowed excessive idling of school buses at two locations, in Sharon, and Natick, Mass.
"Pollution from diesel-powered vehicles is a serious health concern for people throughout New England – that's why idling diesel school buses is unacceptable" said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Children, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments, are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust. We also know that chronic ailments are more likely for people living in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities. Following existing rules to limit school bus idling helps protect the health of school children in communities across the country."
Idling diesel engines emit pollutants that can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems including asthma and other respiratory diseases, and the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust not only contributes to area-wide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms. Drivers, school children riding on the buses, facility workers, neighbors and bystanders are all vulnerable.
AA Transportation will pay a $23,587 penalty, and Michael Connolly & Sons will pay a $28,500 penalty. Both companies have certified that they are now in compliance with federal and Massachusetts regulations limiting idling of vehicles. In both settlements, the companies agreed to implement various measures to promote compliance, including the use of GPS systems to track instances of excessive idling, modification of automatic shutoff timing systems to prevent excess idling, and increased driver awareness training.
In fall 2021, EPA inspectors observed AA Transportation school buses idling for extended periods of time in school bus lots at 648 Lake Street and 605 Hartford Turnpike in Shrewsbury, and at 175 Thompson Road in Webster. During four separate inspections, EPA observed approximately 48 buses idling, resulting in a total idling time of 407 minutes in excess of the 5-minute Massachusetts anti-idling limit.
In early 2022, an EPA inspector observed Michael Connolly & Sons school buses idling for extended periods of time in school bus lots at 67 High Plain Street in Sharon, and 67 Rockland Street in Natick. During three separate inspections, EPA observed approximately 35 buses idling resulting in a total idling time of 360 minutes in excess of the 5-minute Massachusetts anti-idling limit.
More information: EPA School Bus Idle Reduction