CONTACT: Sasha Tenenbaum
Senior Manager, Media and Public Engagement
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its 2022 Clean School Bus Program by opening its online rebate application portal. Using $5 billion in clean school bus funding allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the agency is poised to enable hundreds of school districts to transition from dirty diesel-powered buses to zero-pollution, electric ones. EPA’s new Clean School Bus Program will distribute $5 billion over the next 5 years to help clean up the nation’s iconic yellow school bus fleet.
In response, National Manager for Health Equity, Almeta Cooper issued the following statement:
“This investment in electric school buses is an investment in our children’s health and future. Pollution from diesel-powered school buses can trigger asthma attacks and harm developing brains. Our children’s education shouldn’t come at the expense of their health–and with electric school buses, it doesn’t.
“As a parent, I vividly recall the first time my now-grown daughter Elise rode an iconic yellow school bus on her first day of kindergarten. I had no idea that as she and her friends happily rode that bus, they could potentially be harmed by dirty diesel tailpipe pollution—a known human carcinogen that triggers asthma attacks and can impair a child’s brain development.
“Here in Atlanta, we have extra cause for concern when it comes to the air we breathe. According to the American Lung Association, Fulton County gets an ‘F’ for air quality, meaning the air we breathe may be putting us at risk. It’s the reason why diesel buses have no business being in the places where our children live, learn, and play.
“We know air pollution is especially dangerous for people of color and low-income communities, who are so often pushed to live near highways where polluting traffic is the norm. It’s therefore no surprise that Black and Brown communities face greater risk of asthma, respiratory disease, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, leukemia, adverse birth outcomes, and premature deaths. For mothers and caregivers like me, the switch to clean energy electric buses can’t come too soon.
“Atlanta, let’s get rolling on electrifying the nation’s school bus fleet. It’s time for school districts in Georgia and well beyond to transition from dirty diesel to zero-tailpipe-pollution buses.”
Moms Clean Air Force has advocated for federal funding for zero-pollution, electric school buses for several years. Over 20 million U.S. children ride nearly 500,000 school buses. Most of them run on diesel, which produces exhaust that is a known carcinogen and can lead to, or worsen, respiratory illnesses like asthma. Low-income students and Black, Indigenous, Latino and students of color are more likely to ride in school buses and be exposed to harmful pollution from heavy duty vehicles like school buses. Moms Clean Air Force supports an equitable transition to zero-tailpipe-pollution school buses that won’t pollute the air our children and communities breathe.
To interview Almeta Cooper, please contact Sasha Tenenbaum, (917) 887-0146, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Overviews: “Electric School Buses” and “Moms Clean Air Force on TODAY Show!”
- Environmental Justice and Electric School Buses: “Why Electric School Buses Are An Environmental Justice Issue”