WASHINGTON, D.C. — South Carolina is getting a $553,918 grant to help reduce the amount of pollution created by diesel school buses, the U.S. EPA announced this week.
The federal funds will be used to replace old buses with new low emission hybrids and to retrofit existing buses with cleaner technology.
The EPA is using dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to fund proposals from last year’s National Clean Diesel Campaign grant competition. The state project will create jobs while protecting South Carolina’s air quality, the EPA said.
The South Carolina Department of Education (SDE) will replace four existing 65-passenger school buses with four hybrid electric buses. The department will also retrofit crankcase ventilation filtration systems on 500 of its 1995 model buses. That upgrade will result in an estimated 4.7 ton reduction in diesel emissions, according to the EPA.
The state received a $244,500 Clean School Bus USA grant last year and $500,000 under the same program in 2006. The latest grant was one of six announced Monday in the EPA’s southeast region.
Education officials will work with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to decide where the four new hybrid electric buses will be put into service, based on environmental and air quality conditions throughout the state. The new grant will also pay for the DHEC to conduct training on specific actions school bus drivers should take to eliminate unnecessary diesel idling.