Hundreds of districts to receive money for clean school buses, White House says • New Hampshire Bulletin

WASHINGTON – As part of its ongoing effort to replace diesel school buses, the Biden administration announced Wednesday it will provide nearly $1 billion to about 530 school districts in nearly every state to help them purchase cleaner school buses.

The initiative is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean School Bus Program rebate competition and will provide funds to school districts in 47 states and the District of Columbia to help them purchase more than 3,400 clean school buses. Alaska, Hawaii and Nevada are not participating in this round of funding.

In New Hampshire, according to the White House, nine counties will receive funding for the buses. They are the following counties (number of buses in parentheses): Concord (3), Derry (25), Hanover (3), Hudson (16), Lisbon (1), Litchfield (8), Moultonborough (7), Nashua (22) and Pembroke (25).

Almost all of the clean school buses purchased will be electric (92 percent), according to the administration.

“This announcement is not just about clean school buses, it's about the bigger picture,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said Tuesday in a call with reporters ahead of the announcement. “We are improving air quality for our children, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and extending our nation's leadership in developing the clean vehicles of the future.”

According to the government, low-income communities, rural and tribal communities – which make up about 45 percent of the selected projects – will receive about 67 percent of the total funding.

Regan pointed out that “low-income communities and communities of color have long felt the disproportionate impacts of air pollution, which leads to serious health consequences that continue to affect these populations today.”

In terms of business and economic opportunities, Regan pointed to the creation of new, well-paying manufacturing jobs and investments in local businesses that will result from the increasing demand for these clean school buses.

“As more schools switch to electric buses, there is a need for U.S.-made batteries, charging stations and service providers to maintain the buses to stimulate and revitalize the local economy,” he added.

According to the administration, the Clean School Bus Program has now allocated a total of nearly $3 billion to fund approximately 8,500 electric and alternative fuel buses for more than 1,000 communities across the United States.

The program was created by the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden. According to the EPA, it includes $5 billion over five years to retrofit the nation's existing school buses with “zero- and low-emission models.”

According to the EPA, exposure to diesel exhaust is not only harmful to health and the environment, it can lead to serious health problems such as asthma and respiratory diseases, especially in people with dark skin.

Exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can also “worsen existing heart and lung diseases, especially in children and the elderly,” the authority said.

Anna Harden

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