Environmentally Friendly Buses Approved for Nevada School Districts

Blue Bird school bus

CARSON CITY – Fifteen Nevada public school districts will get new, environmentally friendly buses as part of the state’s School Bus Replacement Program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection received $1,730,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Clean Diesel Grant Program to fund the bus replacements.

The funds will pay for 17 new school buses, replacing diesel-powered buses that are model year 1991 or older. The newer models produce significantly lower diesel emissions. The NDEP expects delivery of the new buses between March and June 2010. The older buses will then be removed from service and scrapped.

The NDEP School Bus Replacement Program targets the reduction of diesel emissions. Diesel engines emit large amounts of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and air toxics – pollutants that can negatively impact human health and the environment.

“Children are particularly susceptible to the negative health effects of these pollutants. These new buses are part of a comprehensive program to reduce diesel emissions exposure for school children,” said NDEP Administrator Leo Drozdoff.

Two school districts, Clark County and Carson City, did not qualify for new buses because their bus fleets are made up of later-model buses that are already equipped with effective emission-control equipment. The other 15 school districts will each receive at least one bus, with Nye and Lyon counties receiving two buses.

Through separate funding from EPA’s Clean Diesel Grant Program, the NDEP is also working with school districts to retrofit 1992 to 2004 model year buses with emission-reducing equipment. The NDEP and the Nevada State Office of Energy received a total of $1.5 million in funding for the retrofit program.

This effort will provide enough funding to retrofit all of the state’s 1992-2004 public school buses. To date, the NDEP has received applications and determined that 431 buses statewide are eligible for the retrofits.

Any public school district with qualifying buses that hasn’t yet applied for retrofit funding can contact Becky Cripe at NDEP’s Bureau of Air Quality Planning at 775-687-9344. Applications are still being accepted.

“By retrofitting these buses and replacing many of the oldest buses with new buses that have the latest emission-reduction technology, the NDEP hopes to significantly reduce the exposure of school children to diesel exhaust emissions,” said Sig Jaunarajs (Yawn-a-rice), supervisor of the Nevada State Clean Diesel Program, NDEP.