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Hollis, N.H. Receives Over $150,000 in EPA Funding for Clean School Buses

Release Date: 03/17/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 17, 2008) – EPA is awarding grants totaling more than $162,850 to install advanced pollution control equipment on approximately 25 school buses operating in the Town of Hollis, school district office SAU #41, New Hampshire and to fuel the entire fleet with a 20 percent blend of biodiesel.

In a related action, EPA, under the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC) Emissions Reductions Program, is making approximately $5.4 million available for clean diesel projects in EPA Regions 1 and 2. Today, EPA issued the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative Emissions Reduction Request for Proposals from regional, state and local governments, federally recognized tribes, port authorities, environmental organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals, and others interested in establishing innovative projects to reduce diesel emissions in their communities.

“Reducing emissions from diesel engines is one of the most important air quality challenges facing New England,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. ”Fleet by fleet, we are eliminating the black puff of diesel smoke that New Hampshire’s children are exposed to daily.”

Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks, including aggravated asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Children are especially vulnerable to these effects. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states. In New Hampshire, lifetime asthma rates in children are estimated to be 11.6 percent.

“As superintendent, I can think of no other greater responsibility than providing for a safe and healthy learning environment for our students. In addition to taking steps to improve our indoor air quality, we recognize that bus diesel engine emissions pose a health threat not only to our students but also to our staff, parents, and citizens who come in close proximity to our school buses as they make their daily runs”, said Richard Pike, Superintendent for Hollis, NH. “The retrofitting of our bus fleet is a proactive initiative that will make our school buses healthier and safer for the 2800 students in our three local school districts.”

The NEDC is a partnership of public and private organizations working to improve regional air quality by taking action to reduce pollution. The NEDC was established in 2005 by regions 1 and 2 of the U.S. EPA, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the states and territories of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Puerto Rico joined in 2007. Projects funded under the 2007 NEDC Emissions Reductions Grant Program will expand regional efforts to reduce public exposure to diesel pollution.

Today’s request for proposals makes approximately $5.4 million available for clean diesel projects in the eight northeastern states - including Tribal lands belonging to the federally recognized tribes in these regions, or the territory of the US Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Projects can involve cleaner fuels, idle reduction, and retrofit technology for a range of diesel engines, including school and transit buses, port equipment and construction vehicles.

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