Menifee Union School District Awarded $2.6 Million for Clean School Buses
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) have awarded the Menifee Union School District approximately $2.6 million to convert its school bus fleet from diesel to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.
At a ceremony held today at Evans Ranch Elementary School, the Menifee Union School District acknowledged grants of $400,000 from the EPA, $975,000 from the AQMD, and $1.3 million from the MSRC.
“By converting their school buses to compressed natural gas, thousands of bus-riding Menifee Union School District students will not be exposed to the harmful effects of black smoke coming from diesel engines,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s Administrator for the Pacific Southwest region.
“It’s imperative to children’s health that we replace all dirty diesel school buses in the region with clean fuel buses,” said Gary Ovitt, AQMD Governing Board member and San Bernardino County Supervisor. “Today’s award continues AQMD’s commitment to get the region’s school bus fleets cleaned up as rapidly as possible.”
“The Menifee Union School District is grateful for the assistance it has received from the EPA, AQMD and MSRC,” said Dan Woods, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for Menifee Union School District. “Our children breathe healthier air and our bus drivers are grateful to operate quieter vehicles; compressed natural gas makes for a better situation for all concerned.”
“The MSRC’s School Bus Buydown Program provides incentives to qualified school bus vendors to buy-down the cost of a bus, which is then available to school districts like Menifee USD to purchase at a lower cost,” said Ron Roberts, Vice-Chair of the MSRC and City of Temecula Councilmember.
Until 2003, Menifee Union School District’s bus fleet consisted largely of diesel buses with a smattering of gasoline buses. In 2003, thanks to the AQMD, older, polluting buses started to be replaced with clean-burning compressed natural gas buses. With AQMD funding, the school district replaced six diesel buses and 22 diesel buses will be replaced with funding from the MSRC.
Menifee Union School District was also awarded a grant of $400,000 from the EPA that will be used to convert the school district’s remaining five diesel school buses to compressed natural gas buses.
Reducing emissions from diesel engines is one of the most important air quality challenges facing the country, since diesel engines emit large amounts of smog- and particulate-forming nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which contribute to asthma and other adverse health effects. CNG school buses on average emit four times less smog-forming nitrogen oxides and 10 times less particulate matter than the diesel buses they replace.
The EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign seeks to reduce diesel contamination by changing fuels or installing filtration units on diesel-powered vehicles. For more information on the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign, please visit http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/index.htm
AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Since 2000, AQMD has approved more than $83 million to help school districts replace or retrofit older diesel school buses in the Southland.
The Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) was created in 1990 by state law that authorized a $4 motor vehicle registration fee for programs to reduce air pollution from mobile sources. Thirty percent of the $4 fee or approximately $14 million annually is used for programs administered by the MSRC.
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