U.S. EPA awards grants to speed up replacement of diesel school buses with cleaner alternatives

Through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), passed by Congress in 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded funds to five school districts and one non-profit company in the State of Missouri to help acquire cleaner vehicles and reduce diesel emissions.

“Providing grants for school bus replacements is truly a rewarding programme,” Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Dru Buntin said. “It’s a win-win situation for Missouri, where the air gets cleaner and our students get safer transportation to and from school.”

Leonardo Academy, a non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing sustainability, was approved to acquire 10 LPG-powered school buses that will replace older dirtier diesel vehicles for Independence School District. The DERA 2021 grant applied for on the district’s behalf by Leonardo Academy Inc. is worth nearly $450,000.

“It’s something the district has gone toward simply for a couple reasons. We were looking for a cleaner solution and we were looking for more stability as far as fuel pricing was concerned,” said Daryl Huddleston, Independence Schools transportation director.

Independence school buses drive 1.2 million miles a year, which is five trips to the moon or nearly 500 trips to California and back. So more economic prices at the pump, and fewer emissions can make a big difference.

“You have 70 kids riding that bus twice a day. If they are intaking that diesel into their little lungs it causes so much cancer and everything else,” commented Tracy Spoeth, accounting and operations manager for Leonardo Academy Inc.

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Photo: Independence School District

8 December 2021