Release 09-66
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2009

    Leo Kay, ARB, (916) 849-9843

Francisco Arcaute, EPA,(213)798-1404
STIMULUS PLAN'S FIRST CLEANER SCHOOL BUS
STATE GIVES SAN DIEGO FUNDING TO RETROFIT DIRTY DIESELS

SAN DIEGO - Today the California Air Resources Board and the San Diego Air Pollution Control Board unveiled one of the first school buses in the country to be retrofitted with a pollution control device using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (economic stimulus) funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This funding will allow the San Diego Unified School District to clean up an additional ten school buses, leaving only seven of its 519-bus fleet without this advanced diesel particulate filtration.

"School buses should be a happy sight in a community," said Shelia Jackson, President of the SDUSD Board of Education. "Our clean fleet ensures that's the case and we'd like to thank our federal and state partners for helping clean up our communities."

In addition, through their efforts, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District and SDUSD are using this stimulus funding to create or sustain jobs in the manufacturing sector and, with the school district's Automotive Technology Program, paving the way for a greener workforce for tomorrow.

"The state and its school children thank the Obama Administration for sending this funding our way to clean up older, dirty diesel school buses," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "San Diego officials, in particular, wasted no time in parlaying this money into real, on-the-ground projects that are providing jobs and protecting children's lungs at the same time."

Diesel emissions pose significant environmental health problem, including respiratory and cardiac illnesses, and asthma. Particulate matter in diesel exhaust is the driver of risk. It is considerably smaller in size than human hair and penetrates deeply into the lungs. Diesel exhaust also degrades air quality and contributes to climate change. Children are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate.

Today's announcement marks the launch of a state-wide effort, as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act State Clean Diesel Program, being implemented by the ARB and other state partners to retrofit more than 80 school buses throughout California with $1.73 Million USEPA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.

"EPA congratulates the State of California for its leadership in bringing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to life in our communities," said Laura Yoshii, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator in the Pacific Southwest. "As a result of federal, state and local efforts, this project helps create a healthier environment through cleaner diesel technologies and a revitalized economy through job creation and retention."

In December, the ARB adopted a first-in-the-nation requirement that calls for the nearly one million trucks and buses driving California roadways be retrofitted and that all older, dirtier engines be replaced over the next several years. The regulation is expected to prevent 4,500 premature deaths, 71,000 cases of asthma and lower respiratory systems and 450,000 work days lost once fully implemented.

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For information on EPA's implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in California, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/eparecovery/cleandiesel.html.

For information about EPA's clean diesel initiatives, visit: http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

For information about the California Air Resources Board, visit: http://www.arb.ca.gov.

For information on the San Diego Unified School District, go to http://www.sandi.net.

For information about the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, please visit: http://www.sdapcd.org. For information on how San Diego County is using stimulus funds, visit http://www.recoverysdcounty.org/.