RESTON, Va. — Addressing concerns about the EPA’s tightened emissions standards and how they’re going to impact school bus operators was the focus of a Webcast sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO).
The Webcast, held June 13, allowed participants to listen to a group of industry experts while viewing a live PowerPoint slideshow on the Internet. It also gave participants the opportunity to ask questions over the phone or to send them through the Internet connection.
The 90-minute Webcast was moderated by ASBO’s Arlene Olkin and included presenters Jennifer Keller, program manager of the EPA’s Clean School Bus USA program; Donald Tudor, director of transportation for the South Carolina Department of Education; and David Anderson, transportation director at Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Broomfield, Colo.
The presenters gave an overview of the school transportation industry and how diesel emissions affect operations as well as their impact on passengers. Solutions to the problems, such as retrofitting or replacing equipment, burning cleaner fuels and idle reduction programs, were also discussed along with grant opportunities to fund such endeavors.
To put the school bus emissions into perspective, Keller drew comparisons to other industries. Of the 6.3 million tons of nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere annually, school buses contribute about 1 percent, while freight contributes a whopping 56 percent. Non-port marine contributes 13 percent and construction was tagged at 11 percent.
As for particulate matter, of the 305,000 tons released, the school bus industry is responsible for about 2 percent compared to freight’s 32 percent, construction’s 21 percent and agriculture’s 19 percent.
The group suggested sources to obtain funding for retrofitting and other emissions-reduction strategies, including the EPA’s Website www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus. The site offers information on how to submit proposals to gain access to funding for clean school bus projects as well as information on state supplemental environmental projects and private funding.
Keller said ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel should be available nationwide by October. She warned, however, that the fuel could cost as much as 12 cents a gallon more than standard diesel fuel.