January 08, 2024
“The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) is pleased that US EPA has awarded $20 million from its Clean School Bus Program to Chicago Public Schools (CPS), as well as funding other urban school districts in the Midwest with poor air quality that impact students’ lives. EPA’s Region 5, which includes Illinois and other Great Lakes states, was awarded a total of $140 million of the $1 billion in the current round of funding.
“Once again, schools are overwhelmingly seeking electric buses. Based on requests, of the 2700 buses being replaced, 95% of the funding will be used to purchase electric buses as well as the charging stations to power them. ELPC is gratified that 41 school districts in EPA Region 5 will be able to replace a total of 380 fossil-fueled school buses so kids can have a cleaner ride to school. ELPC is especially pleased to learn that in addition to CPS, Illinois school districts in Peoria, East St. Louis, Herrin and West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District are also among those awarded funding.
“ELPC is thrilled Chicago Public Schools children will soon be riding electric school buses that will reduce their exposure to harmful diesel fumes that contribute to asthma and other lung-related diseases. EPA funding for zero-emission school buses that will benefit inner-city children is important since many live in Environmental Justice communities and experience higher rates of asthma and other lung ailments. Children’s lungs are still developing so they are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of diesel pollution generated by dirty fossil fuel school buses.
“ELPC has been directly engaged in advocating for electric school buses throughout the Midwest and educating school districts on applying for much-needed funding. We will continue to encourage school district administrators to seek out available state, federal and other financial assistance and urge utilities to enable connecting these electric buses to the power grid thus helping to fight climate change and financially benefiting schools and ratepayers.”
“Additional Midwest school districts – both urban and rural – that will soon transport children in electric school buses from the current EPA round of funding include: Detroit Public Schools, Lansing and Pontiac School Districts in Michigan; Milwaukee and Madison School Districts in Wisconsin; Cincinnati Public Schools, Youngstown City and Euclid School Districts in Ohio; St. Paul Public School District and Vermillion Country School in Minnesota; Indianapolis School District in Indiana; and Sioux City Community Schools in Iowa.”