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Cleaner School Buses Contribute to Region’s Clean Air Efforts

Release Date: 04/12/2006
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421,

(ATLANTA – Apr. 12, 2006) Middle Georgia School District students will be breathing cleaner air next year thanks to the County Public Schools receiving a $225,000 grant to retrofit 18 buses in Bibb, Houston, and Monroe counties. The grant to the School Districts is one of four being awarded in the Southeast this year, totaling $ 1.2 million. This initiative will be the first diesel retrofit project on school buses in Georgia outside the metro Atlanta area. The project will begin with the transition to cleaner fuel in April 2006 and the installation of diesel particulate filters before school starts in August 2006.

“I strongly commend Bibb, Houston and Monroe Counties for their participation in the Clean School Bus USA program,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta. “Reducing pollution from school buses helps improve local air quality and reduces children’s exposure to diesel exhaust.”

Ned Sanders, Chairman of the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition, said "We are delighted to start this initial clean air retrofit program for better health of our students and the general public. We appreciate the support of our colleagues in Atlanta at the EPA Regional Office and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division."

"Biodiesel has become the fastest growing alternative fuel in the nation and we are proud that our school districts continue to address air quality with innovative solutions,” said Charise Stephens, Executive Director of the Middle Georgia Clean Cities Coalition. “Biodiesel is made from domestic resources such as soybean oil or other fats and vegetable oils, biodiesel is renewable and a wonderful component to this worthwhile project."

The grant is part of agency’s Clean School Bus USA program and will be used to fund cleaner fuel usage and install exhaust filters to reduce diesel emissions. After the diesel particulate filters are installed, the buses will reduce emissions of fine particulates by about 75 to 85 percent and lower hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by at least 60 percent. The combined use of 20 percent biodiesel will further reduce particulate matter emissions by approximately 10 percent. These emission reductions will improve air quality for the 53,000 students who attend school in the three counties.

This year, EPA nationally awarded 37 grants totaling $7.5 million as part of the Clean School Bus USA program. The initiative encourages the development and implementation of policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary school bus idling, installation of effective emission control systems on newer buses, and the replacement of the oldest buses with cleaner diesel or compressed natural gas-powered buses. The grant recipients are contributing an additional $13 million in matching funds and services.