AESB Media Statement – EPA CSBP Announcement 2022-05-20

in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s launch of the Clean School Bus Program, members of the Alliance for Electric School Buses released the following statements:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 20, 2022

Contact: 

Carolina Chacon, Alliance for Electric School Buses | 702-810-7155 | carolina@chaconconsulting.com 

Pita Juarez, Chispa LCV | 602-413-4421 | pjuarez@lcv.org

Alliance for Electric School Buses Responds to 

EPA’s Clean School Bus Program Announcement

Washington, D.C. — Today, in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s launch of the Clean School Bus Program, members of the Alliance for Electric School Buses released the following statements:

“Chispa’s members have been fighting for a clean ride for kids for years. EPA’s initial efforts are a historic investment in electric school buses and we are excited to welcome school districts to begin applying for funding now,” said Johana Vicente, Senior National Director of Chispa National. “As communities of color are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, we will continue to push for race and air pollution level indicators to be part of the criteria to ensure that low-income communities of color who most need cleaner air quality get the benefits first. We look forward to working with the EPA in real-time to center equity, prioritize electric school buses, and ensure that this initial round of transformational funding will reach the communities this program is intended to help.” 

“We applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to advance clean electric school buses. Parents want their kids to have healthy air to breathe, and unfortunately, for many parents in communities of color living near roadways or polluting industries, that fundamental goal is out of reach. Zero-tailpipe-emission electric school buses can make parents’ goal of clean air for their kids much more attainable. We commend the tireless leadership of our Chispa colleagues to advocate for clean rides for children, and will continue to work together to push Congress and the administration to free up more federal funding for electric school buses and direct funds to those school districts whose families have historically faced the worst air quality and need the most support to transition to zero-tailpipe-emission school buses,” said Darien Davis, Government Affairs Climate and Clean Energy Advocate for LCV.

“ELPC welcomes EPA’s long-awaited guidance for the brand-new Clean School Bus Program. Replacing noisy and dirty diesel buses with clean electric school buses is good for kids, public health and the environment,” said Susan Mudd, Senior Policy Advocate with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We want to ensure the program has the least barriers to entry for priority school districts and will serve low-income students who deserve clean rides to school. We will continue to urge EPA to revise the guidance on which schools qualify and reduce barriers to applying so that students and their school districts can access this important new program.”

“Electrifying our nation’s school buses will deliver massive public health benefits for students who currently rely on diesel-spewing buses to get to and from their schools, as well as the bus drivers that take them,” said Eric Willadsen, Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign. “Too often, young people in our most vulnerable communities are exposed to poor air quality each day, an unjust reality that policies can and must fix. The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program can be a prime example of how we can improve the quality of life for millions across the country while tackling the climate crisis.”

“Today marks a milestone. By enabling hundreds of schools across the country to acquire electric school buses, this Administration is making progress toward cleaning up the air and protecting our communities from climate change,” said Molly Rauch, Public Health Policy Director for Moms Clean Air Force.  “The millions of children who ride diesel-powered school buses to and from school each day are exposed to harmful diesel pollution that can trigger asthma attacks and interfere with their ability to learn. Electric school buses are a safer alternative. They are healthier for our lungs and for our climate. Moms and dads across the country welcome this historic opportunity to bring electric buses to our communities. We want a clean ride for kids. We want clean air in our communities. And we want a stable climate for our families and our communities. Electrifying the nation’s school bus fleet gets us rolling on the road to achieve these goals. We encourage school districts to take advantage of this opportunity to transition from dirty diesel-powered school buses to zero-tailpipe-pollution electric buses.”

“The opening of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program represents an important nationwide opportunity for school districts to obtain funding for zero tailpipe emission electric buses. As parents and caregivers, we prioritize the health of our children and their communities. “We can and must do better than diesel and propane school buses, especially in areas with low air quality and communities of color,” said Katie Henderson, a mother and volunteer with Mothers Out Front in Virginia. “We are happy to see the EPA working toward an equitable program with the creation of a priority list of school districts which will have the ability to apply for rebates of up to the full cost of the electric school buses and chargers.”

“The 25 million children riding school buses every day deserve a school commute free from exposure to high levels of diesel exhaust that causes and exacerbates severe respiratory illness. This EPA program helps make this aspiration a reality by funding the electrification of local school bus fleets across the nation, meaning less exposure to toxic air pollution, fewer missed days of school for preventable illnesses, and improved school performance for environmental justice communities that are already disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” said Athena Motavvef, Earthjustice Legislative Representative. “While critical for improving health outcomes, electrifying school buses is also an important climate solution. With the transportation sector responsible for the largest portion of greenhouse gas emissions, electrifying school buses helps us decrease local air pollution while fighting the climate crisis. We look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that underserved communities are receiving these important investments and that the Biden administration lives up to the promises made to frontline communities experiencing the disproportionate impacts of pollution and the climate crisis.” 

“Getting to school shouldn’t include a daily dose of toxic pollution, or increase the chances that kids will get sick. And we shouldn’t continue to use dirty diesel buses if they are making the climate crisis worse. The opening of the Clean School Bus Program should be the end of air-polluting school buses as we know them,” said Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG’s Environment Campaigns Director. “We thank Vice President Harris for her years of advocacy for electric school buses that led to this moment and appreciate the EPA’s work in quickly developing this program and getting the applications launched. We look forward to seeing more electric school buses on roads across the country.”

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About the Alliance for Electric School Buses: We are a diverse partnership of nonprofit organizations united by our commitment to fully transition the nation’s school bus fleet to electric models that will clean up the air 25 million children breathe. Our coalition represents environmental, equity, community, and labor groups who work at the local, state, and federal levels. 

Members include: Chispa Arizona, Chispa Florida, Chispa Maryland, Chispa LCV, Chispa Nevada, Clean Energy Works, Earthjustice, Electric School Bus Learning Project, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Green For All, Jobs to Move America, Moms Clean Air Force, Mothers Out Front, New York League of Conservation Voters, Protegete, Save the Sound, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, US PIRG, VEIC and WE ACT for Environmental Justice. 

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