WE ACT for Environmental Justice Celebrates Rebate Awards for EPA Clean School Bus Program

October 26, 2022
Contact: Chris Dobens, chris@weact.org, 718-679-8542


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the recipients of its inaugural Clean School Bus Program rebates today. The Clean School Bus Program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, will invest $5 billion over 5 years in clean school buses. The 2022 rebates will invest a total of $965 million for 2,463 new school buses, 95 percent of which will be electric school buses, in 389 school districts in all 50 states, along with several Tribal nations and US territories. New York received almost $70 million for electric buses. Anastasia Gordon, WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Energy and Transportation Policy Manager, and Lonnie Portis, WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Environmental Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, issued the following statement:

“WE ACT is happy to see nearly $1 million in this first round of federal funding from the Clean School Bus Program – double the amount that was first made available in May. The program provides a tremendous opportunity to reduce emissions and spur the transition to electric, zero-emission school buses as well as begin to clean the air and improve the health of millions of children, especially in overburdened communities that depend on the school bus transportation system.

We are even happier that a large percentage of this funding will go towards electric school buses in the EPA’s priority school districts. For many years, WE ACT has been advocating for clean air and transportation for communities overburdened by pollution. Most school buses run on diesel fuel, which emits nasty pollutants such as soot, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants that significantly worsen air quality within our communities and contribute to global warming. Air pollution is particularly harmful for the developing lungs of children, and children of color and in areas of low income in New York City experience its worst impacts. Neighborhoods in Northern Manhattan, for instance, have some of the highest death and disease rates from asthma in the nation, with childhood asthma in these communities of color being responsible for a disproportionately high number of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and premature deaths.

The funding under the EPA Clean School Bus Program will go a long way in replacing diesel school buses with all-electric school buses and thus, improve air quality in New York City and the State, reduce children’s exposure to asthma-causing pollutants while also protecting the health of drivers and the communities these buses drive through. It will also help achieve New York State and New York City’s electric school bus mandates, both of which require school bus fleets to be fully electric by 2035. WE ACT looks forward to working with the EPA in the continued rollout of the Clean School Bus Program to ensure that funding for electric school buses goes towards communities that need it the most.”

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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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