Five rural Nebraska school districts will be able to upgrade their bus fleets to new, cleaner buses with a total of $120,000 in rebates from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The school districts will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding to replace existing diesel school buses.
Nebraska districts receiving funding include –
• Nebraska Unified District #1 (Clearwater, Orchard and Verdigre public schools), $20,000 for one bus
• Chase County School District, Imperial, Neb., $40,000 for two buses
• Mead Public Schools, $20,000 for one bus
• High Plains Community Schools, Polk, Neb., $20,000 for one bus
• Wahoo Public Schools, Wahoo, Neb., $20,000 for one bus
“Americans put their children on school buses for a safe ride to school. They shouldn’t have to worry about harmful pollutants emitted from these buses,” said Janet McCabe, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “This funding will help keep our children safe and improve the health of those in communities across the country.”
The new buses are more than 90 percent cleaner, reducing pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter that are linked to health problems including asthma and lung damage. The districts must use matching funds from other sources to purchase new buses.
Nationally, 76 school bus fleets in 30 states will receive rebates through EPA’s DERA funding.
Since 2008, the DERA program has funded over 600 clean diesel projects across the country. These projects have reduced emissions for more than 60,000 engines. EPA has implemented standards to make diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses remain in operation and predate these standards.
Selectees must maintain ownership of replacement buses for three years from the date of purchase, and the buses must be used for the purpose of transporting 10 or more preprimary, primary or secondary students to schools or homes during that three-year period.
Applicants were randomly selected and placed in order on a list until a total of $3 million was allocated. This was EPA’s second round of the rebate program aimed at replacing older diesel school buses. Public and private school bus fleets were eligible to apply for rebates for the replacement of school buses with engine model years of 2006 or older.