EPA awards $10.5 million to clean up 473 school buses in 40 states

Monday, April 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded approximately $10.5 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses. The funds are going to 137 school bus fleets in 40 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to asthma and lung damage, better protecting health and air quality in communities across the country.

“The rebates provide children with a safe and healthy way to get to school by upgrading older diesel engines in our nation’s school buses,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, EPA is equipping local school districts with cleaner-running buses, helping them along the route to healthier kids and communities.”

Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris and Administrator Regan toured the Thomas Built Buses manufacturing plant in High Point, NC, which produces electric school buses.

“I always take immense pride in seeing the positive impact that DERA continues to have across this country,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE). “By replacing dirty diesel engines with cleaner American-made alternatives, DERA allows communities to breathe easier while also supporting manufacturing jobs here at home. DERA is also proof that Congress can come together to pass lasting solutions that are good for our planet. I’m thrilled that EPA is awarding nearly 500 school bus replacements today—several of them electric for the first time—because of our recent bipartisan reauthorization of this program. With President Biden in the White House and Michael Regan at the helm of EPA, I’m excited for the opportunity to grow programs like DERA that strengthen our economy and address the climate crisis.”

The 2020 Rebates are the first year in which EPA is offering additional funds for alt-fuel and electric bus replacements. This year, five fleets plan to replace 16 old diesel buses with electric buses. Applicants scrapping and replacing diesel buses with engine model years 2006 and older will receive rebates between $20,000 and $65,000 per bus, depending on the fuel type of the replacement bus. EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, and other health effects or illnesses that can lead to missed days of work or school.

Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 1,300 projects across the country, reducing diesel emissions in more than 70,000 engines. A comprehensive list of the 2020 DERA School Bus Rebate recipients can be found at https://www.epa.gov/dera/awarded-dera-rebates.