Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Every day, more than 25 million children (and thousands of bus drivers) breathe polluted air during their commute to school, which has a negative impact on student health and attendance – particularly for students with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
How can we lessen the exposure to dangerous diesel pollution? Enter The Clean School Bus Act.
This legislation would provide $1 billion to help school districts across the nation replace traditional diesel school buses with electric ones. By reducing students’ exposure to diesel exhaust, bill sponsors say it would significantly:
cut down on asthma-related health incidents
and provide long-term savings to school districts
Here’s how it would work: The proposal would provide grants of up to $2 million for school districts to swap out diesel buses with electric ones, invest in charging infrastructure, and support workforce development.
This legislation would provide $1 billion to help school districts across the country replace traditional school buses with electric ones. By reducing students’ exposure to diesel exhaust, the bill would significantly cut down on asthma-related health incidents, increase attendance, and provide long-term savings to school districts.
GASP stands alongside our friends at Moms Clean Air Force, American Lung Association, League of Conservation Voters, National Education Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Green For All, and others in support of the Clean School Bus Act.
“Having a fleet of electric busses is no longer just a future aspiration. They’re available today and wherever possible we should take advantage of opportunities to shift to electric – especially when it comes to those most vulnerable to the health impacts associated with diesel pollution: Our kids,” GAP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “At a time when environmental justice disparities have never been more clear, we’re thankful that the grant program will prioritize support for lower-income students.”
We know about those disparities all too well here locally.
A peer-reviewed study conducted by a local doctor shows children in Allegheny County living near major pollution sources had nearly triple the prevalence of asthma as compared to the national average.
Children in the study lived in Clairton, Woodland Hills, Allegheny Valley, Northgate, and Gateway school districts, with many living in environmental justice communities populated with a high percentage of low-income and African American families.
The study spotlights the health inequalities that exist between African Americans and other children: Overall prevalence of asthma in the study was highest among African Americans (26.8 percent) and those 10-12 years of age (26.7 percent) on public health insurance.
“We need to push our Congressional representatives here in Pennsylvania to support the Clean School Bus Act,” Filippini said. “If we can’t rally around protecting our most precious natural resource – our kids – and help ensure they breathe clean air, what can we rally around?”
YOU can help. Reach out to your Congressional representatives today and ask them to support the Clean School Bus Act. Not sure who your reps are? N
o worries – you can enter your address here to find out who you need to contact and how.