EPA Air

EPA Awards Nearly $750,000 in Funding to Research PFAS Exposure Pathways

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $748,180 in research grant funding to three institutions for research to improve our understanding of how people are exposed to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in several communities throughout the country.

“Recognizing that exposure to PFAS is a public health and environmental issue facing communities across the United States, and consistent with EPA’s Strategic Roadmap for PFAS, the EPA is investing in scientific research to increase understanding of PFAS exposures,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The research announced today will answer critical questions regarding the contribution of PFAS exposures at home to PFAS found in the body and will produce science that can help inform and focus decisions to protect human health.”

PFAS are a large group of chemicals that are used in many consumer products and industrial and manufacturing applications and are commonly known as ‘forever chemicals’ since they take so long to break down. Due to their widespread use and environmental persistence, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects. More data is needed to measure the nature and levels of PFAS in homes and food to understand pathways for human exposure and risk mitigation.

The research grants announced today will help us better understand the sources and pathways related to people’s exposures to PFAS chemicals.

The following institutions are receiving awards:

  • Silent Spring Institute, Newton, Mass., to measure PFAS in air and dust in homes, and evaluate associations between potential residential sources and PFAS occurrence at home. This research will enhance understanding of the contribution of residential pathways to PFAS exposures and improve the interpretation of PFAS biomonitoring data.
  • Duke University, Durham, N.C., to determine how different sources of PFAS exposure, including PFAS in drinking water and in homes, contribute to levels measured in blood. This study will address key questions on the most relevant PFAS exposure pathways for the general U.S. population.
  • Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., to develop a standardized, validated, scientific protocol to measure levels of a targeted set of PFAS in the home. Data collected from home samples will be compared to data collected from PFAS in blood to help identify residential sources of PFAS measured in people’s blood. 

Learn more about the research grant recipients.

Learn more about EPA research grants.

EPA Enforcement Actions Help Protect Health of Vulnerable Communities from Lead Paint Hazards

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON - As part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlighted several federal enforcement actions completed from October 2021 through September 2022, as well as future planned investigations. These actions ensure that renovation contractors, landlords and realtors comply with rules that protect the public from exposure to lead from lead paint. By bringing companies into compliance with these rules, EPA protects future customers and their families.

Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978 presents one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

“Because lead-based paint is the most common source of elevated blood lead levels in U.S. children, EPA is taking action against those who violate federal lead-based paint regulations and ensuring the public understands the danger of this hazard,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The enforcement actions EPA took this past year send a clear message that EPA is committed to enforcing regulations designed to protect the public from lead-based paint exposure.”

Reduction of childhood lead exposures is a high priority for EPA. These enforcement actions reflect the agency’s continuing commitment to implementing the Federal Lead Strategy and EPA’s Lead Strategy and result in reducing or eliminating lead exposures, particularly to children. 

Regulations under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (LHRA) apply to most pre-1978 dwellings and child-occupied facilities such as pre-schools and child-care centers. TSCA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) and Lead-based Paint Activities Rule require contractor certification and lead-safe work practices. LHRA’s Section 1018 Lead Disclosure Rule requires disclosure of information about lead-based paint before the sale or lease of most housing built before 1978. By ensuring compliance with federal lead-based paint requirements, EPA addresses a major source of lead exposure that occurs in communities across the nation.

The cases below involve alleged noncompliance with at least one of these lead paint requirements. These cases highlight the range of the Agency’s work, including:

  • criminal prosecution in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ),
  • a focus on geographic areas that suffer from disproportionate levels of lead exposure, and
  • bringing civil administrative actions against renovators with a far-reaching influence on the compliance landscape locally, regionally or nationwide.

By ensuring compliance with federal lead paint requirements, EPA strives to address major sources of lead exposure that occur throughout the nation and particularly in areas of environmental justice concern. In addition to EPA’s actions, the Agency supports states, tribes, and territories on the implementation and enforcement of the EPA-authorized lead-based paint programs.

Although the federal government banned residential use of lead-based paint in 1978, it persists in millions of older homes, sometimes under layers of new paint. Lead exposure, particularly at higher doses, continues to pose a significant health and safety threat to children, preventing them from reaching their fullest potential for their health, intellect, and future development. Even small amounts of lead dust can cause harm to children living in the home.

Case Highlights:

Two Chicks and a Hammer, Inc. of HGTV’s “Good Bones” Settle to Resolve Alleged Renovation, Violations

Warner Bros. Discovery Network’s “Maine Cabin Masters” Renovator Agrees to Include Lead Paint Compliance Information in Upcoming Episodes as Part of Settlement

GB Group, Inc. Settles to Resolve Alleged Renovation Violations

Property Management Firm Settles Alleged Lead Renovation and Asbestos Violations

Property Manager Sentenced for Failure to Properly Notify Tenants about Lead Hazards

Owner of Maryland Lead Inspection Company Sentenced

In support of EPA’s Lead Strategy, EPA is also focused on compliance with lead-based paint regulations in family housing, including on military installations. EPA sent several information request letters and subpoenas to housing companies to assess compliance with the regulations, and will take appropriate enforcement action as needed.

To see additional highlights of FY2022 enforcement actions involving lead, see EPA’s 2022 Lead Enforcement Bulletin.

Members of the public can help protect our environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations. Learn more about reporting environmental violations. 

La EPA lanza la primera estrategia de toda la agencia para reducir la exposición al plomo y las disparidades en las comunidades de los Estados Unidos

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (27 de octubre de 2022) Hoy, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) publicó su Estrategia para Reducir la Exposición al Plomo y las Disparidades en las Comunidades de los Estados Unidos (Estrategia del Plomo), junto con  la Semana Nacional de Prevención del Envenenamiento por Plomo. Esta primera Estrategia del Plomo para toda la agencia describe la manera en que la EPA utilizará su conjunto completo de autoridad, experiencia y recursos para reducir la exposición al plomo en las comunidades sobrecargadas por la contaminación y avanzar en el compromiso de la Administración Biden-Harris con la justicia ambiental y la equidad. Los esfuerzos descritos en la estrategia para proteger al público de la contaminación por plomo están respaldados por las inversiones históricas conforme a la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura del presidente Biden.

“La evidencia es clara. Los niños expuestos al plomo tienen más probabilidades de enfrentar impactos adversos para la salud y otras dificultades graves a lo largo de la vida, desde un crecimiento y desarrollo lentos hasta discapacidades de aprendizaje y comportamiento”, indicó el administrador de la EPA, Michael S. Regan. “En combinación con las inversiones históricas de la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura del presidente Biden, esta estrategia acelerará nuestros esfuerzos para identificar la exposición al plomo desde el principio y eliminar las disparidades raciales y socioeconómicas en los niveles de plomo en la sangre al conectar a las comunidades con recursos que pueden reducir la exposición al plomo”.

La multifacética Estrategia del Plomo de la EPA tiene como objetivo reducir la exposición de la comunidad a las fuentes de plomo; identificar a las comunidades con altas exposiciones al plomo y mejorar sus resultados de salud; mejorar el compromiso con las comunidades y las partes interesadas; y apoyar la investigación crítica para informar los esfuerzos destinados a reducir la exposición al plomo y los riesgos para la salud relacionados.

Este trabajo está respaldado por el nivel sin precedentes de recursos que fluyen a la EPA a través de la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura del presidente Biden, que incluye $15 mil millones en fondos dedicados para reemplazar tuberías de plomo y tuberías de servicio y eliminar el plomo del suelo y los sitios contaminados. Estas inversiones históricas incluyen:

  • $1.16 mil millones para apoyar proyectos de tuberías principales de servicio en 21 estados, el Distrito de Columbia y tres territorios.
  • $600 millones para limpiar proyectos de construcción en más de 50 sitios Superfund donde el plomo es un contaminante preocupante.
  • $25 millones en los próximos 5 años para apoyar a las comunidades pequeñas y desfavorecidas en el desarrollo de tecnologías de identificación de tuberías principales de servicio, asegurando una distribución eficiente y equitativa de los recursos a través de los Fondos Rotativos Estatales de la EPA. 

Además, esta nueva estrategia avanza el compromiso de la Administración Biden-Harris de reemplazar las tuberías de plomo y apoyar la eliminación de pintura con plomo conforme al Plan de Acción de Tuberías y Pintura de Plomo.

La exposición al plomo puede causar efectos adversos para la salud en casi todos los órganos y sistemas del cuerpo humano. El sistema nervioso se ve especialmente atacado por el plomo en los niños y adultos y la exposición puede causar disminuciones irreversibles y de por vida en el aprendizaje, la memoria y la atención. La exposición continua al plomo en el medioambiente presenta un riesgo para la salud de muchas personas en todo el país. Esto es especialmente cierto en las comunidades sobrecargadas por la contaminación, que son desproporcionadamente comunidades de color y comunidades de bajos ingresos. Las comunidades de color también pueden enfrentar un mayor riesgo debido a las prácticas discriminatorias de préstamos en el pasado, la segregación racial histórica en la vivienda y el acceso reducido a viviendas ecológicamente seguras y asequibles.

A través de esta estrategia, la EPA está iniciando varias acciones nuevas y asegurando que los programas establecidos en toda la agencia se aprovechen en conjunto para garantizar protecciones más sólidas contra la exposición al plomo. Las nuevas acciones en la estrategia incluyen:

  • Aceleradores del reemplazo de tuberías de servicio de plomo, que proporcionarán asistencia técnica específica y desarrollarán las mejores prácticas para ayudar a abordar las barreras que enfrentan las comunidades desfavorecidas al reemplazar las tuberías de servicio de plomo.
  • Nueva colaboración de la agencia federal con la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos y la Comisión de Seguridad de Productos del Consumidor para abordar el plomo en alimentos, cosméticos y otros bienes de consumo.
  • El desarrollo de nuevos materiales educativos y de participación sobre la salud infantil y materna con respecto al plomo y los metales pesados en productos culturales y utensilios de cocina. 

Además de estas nuevas acciones, la estrategia describe, por primera vez, un enfoque de toda la agencia para los programas, regulaciones y políticas existentes, asegurando la coordinación para proteger al público de la exposición al plomo. Estos programas existentes incluyen cursos de capacitación para contratistas certificados de renovación, reparación y pintura, programas de educación y difusión comunitaria sobre los riesgos asociados con la pintura a base de plomo, y recursos para pruebas de plomo en escuelas y programas de cuidado infantil.

La EPA monitoreará el progreso de la implementación a través de una serie de medidas descritas en la estrategia, incluidos los hitos para reevaluar las regulaciones y las métricas del programa, como completar 225 limpiezas Superfund de contaminación por plomo para el otoño de 2026. A medida que avanza la implementación, la EPA continuará fortaleciendo esta labor y tomará medidas para alcanzar los objetivos descritos en esta estrategia.

La participación con las comunidades de todo el país, así como con los socios de gobierno federal, tribales, estatales y locales, fue parte integral del desarrollo de la Estrategia de Plomo, y la estrategia final refleja los comentarios de una amplia gama de partes interesadas de todo el país. Tras la publicación del borrador de la Estrategia del Plomo el año pasado, la EPA solicitó comentarios del público, organizando 11 sesiones públicas de escucha, una en cada una de las 10 regiones de la EPA y una sesión de participación para las tribus. La agencia también recibió miles de comentarios del público que informaron y mejoraron la estrategia final.

Lea la Estrategia del Plomo. (En Inglés)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces nearly $20 million from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for Alabama School Districts

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (October 27, 2022) – On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding nearly $20 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 4 school districts in Ala. The grants will help school districts purchase over 52 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and this historic funding is an innovative way to reduce the serious health impacts of diesel emissions as children ride to and from school,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The BIL Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality and human health not only for our children, but for the communities where they live and play.”

Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities like:

Fairfield, Ala.                                           Fairfield City                                                      $3,555,000

Tuscumbia, Ala.                                      Tuscumbia City School District                        $395,000

Albertville, Ala.                                        Albertville City                                                   $7,505,000

Anniston, Ala.                                          Anniston City                                                     $9,085,000

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

 

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

 

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

 

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces over $26 million from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for Kentucky School Districts

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

RANKFURT, Ky. (October 27, 2022) – On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding over $26 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 10 school districts in Ky. The grants will help school districts purchase over 68 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

DRAFT “President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and this historic funding is an innovative way to reduce the serious health impacts of diesel emissions as children ride to and from school,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The BIL Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality and human health not only for our children, but for the communities where they live and play.”

Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities like:

Barbourville, Ky.              Barbourville Independent School District                            $395,000

Flemingsburg,   Ky.         Fleming County Board of Education                                     $2,765,000

Grayson, Ky.                     Carter County School District                                                  $9,085,000

Campton, Ky.                   Wolfe County Board of Education                                        $1,185,000

Hyden, Ky.                        Leslie County                                                                              $1,185,000

Bowling Green, Ky.         Bowling Green Independent School District                       $5,135,000

Cadiz, Ky.                          Trigg County Public Schools                                                   $1,975,000

Hopkinsville, Ky.              Christian County School District Finance Corp.                  $2,370,000

Morganfield      Ky.         Union County Schools                                                              $395,000

Princeton, Ky.                  Caldwell County Board of Education                                    $2,370,000

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

 

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

 

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

 

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

###

EPA Releases First-ever Agency-Wide Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities (Lead Strategy), in conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. This first-ever, agency-wide Lead Strategy outlines how EPA will utilize its full suite of authorities, expertise, and resources to reduce lead exposure in communities overburdened by pollution and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to environmental justice and equity. The efforts outlined in the strategy to protect the public from lead pollution are supported by the historic investments under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“The evidence is clear. Children exposed to lead are more likely to face adverse health impacts and other serious challenges throughout life —from slowed growth and development to learning and behavioral disabilities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Combined with the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this strategy will accelerate our efforts to identify lead exposures early on and eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in blood-lead levels by connecting communities with resources that can reduce lead exposure.”

EPA’s multifaceted Lead Strategy aims to reduce community exposures to lead sources; identify communities with high lead exposures and improve their health outcomes; improve engagement with communities and stakeholders; and support critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks.

This work is supported by the unprecedented level of resources flowing to EPA through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes $15 billion in dedicated funding to replace lead pipes and service lines and remove lead from soil and contaminated sites. These historic investments include:

  • $1.16 billion to support lead service line projects in 21 states, District of Columbia, and three territories.
  • $600 million to cleanup construction projects at more than 50 Superfund sites where lead is a contaminant of concern.
  • $25 million over the next 5 years to support small and disadvantaged communities  in the development of lead service line identification technologies, ensuring efficient, equitable distribution of resources through EPA State Revolving Funds.

In addition, this new strategy advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to replace lead pipes and support lead paint removal under the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan.

Lead exposure can cause adverse health effects in almost every organ and system in the human body. The nervous system is the main target for lead in children and adults and exposure can result in irreversible and lifelong decreases in learning, memory, and attention. Ongoing exposures to lead in the environment present a health risk to many people nationwide. This is especially true in communities overburdened by pollution, which are disproportionately communities of color and low-income communities. Communities of color can also face greater risk due to past discriminatory lending practices, historic racial segregation in housing, and reduced access to environmentally safe and affordable housing.

Through this strategy, EPA is initiating several new actions and ensuring established programs across the agency are leveraged together to ensure the strongest protections from lead exposure. New actions in the strategy include:

  • Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators, which will provide targeted technical assistance and develop best practices to help address the barriers disadvantaged communities face in replacing lead service lines.
  • New federal agency collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to address lead in food, cosmetics, and other consumer goods.
  • The development of new educational and engagement materials on children's health and maternal health regarding lead and heavy metals in cultural products and cookware.

In addition to these new actions, the strategy outlines, for the first time, a whole-of-agency approach for existing programs, regulations, and policies, ensuring coordination to protect the public from lead exposure. These existing programs include training courses for certified Renovation, Repair, and Painting contractors, community outreach and education programs on risks associated with lead-based paint, and resources for lead testing in schools and child care programs.

EPA will monitor implementation progress through a number of measures outlined in the strategy, including milestones for reevaluating regulations and program metrics such as completing 225 Superfund cleanups of lead contamination by fall of 2026. As implementation progresses, EPA will continue to strengthen these efforts and take actions to reach the goals outlined in this strategy.

Engaging with communities across the country, as well as with federal, Tribal, state, and local government partners, was integral to the development of the Lead Strategy, and the final strategy reflects the feedback of a wide array of stakeholders from across the country. Following the releases of the draft Lead Strategy last year, EPA solicited feedback from the public, hosting 11 public listening sessions, one in each of EPA’s 10 regions and an engagement session for Tribes. The agency also received thousands of public comments which informed and improved the final strategy.

Read the Lead Strategy.

EPA’s Most Productive Laboratory Gets 20-Year Facility Lease, Reduces Footprint While Maintaining Analytical Capability and Jobs

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00
EPA Region 7 hosted local leaders to celebrate the 20-year lease renewal for the Kansas City Science and Technology Center (KCSTC) in Kansas City, Kansas, on Oct. 27, 2022. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)

LENEXA, KAN. (OCT. 27, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Kansas City Science and Technology Center (KCSTC), located at 300 Minnesota Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas, has renewed its facility lease through 2043. Today, EPA Region 7 and local leaders celebrated the 20-year lease renewal at the KCSTC.

The lease renewal reduces EPA’s footprint within the existing facility by nearly 25,000 square feet, saving taxpayers approximately S1.9 million in rent and utilities per year and keeping over 50 jobs in the region.

“The Kansas City Science and Technology Center is invaluable to our environmental protections and is EPA’s most productive laboratory,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “This lease renewal will allow us to retain well-paying jobs, reduce our support-area footprint and yearly facility costs, and retain the original laboratory space so we can continue delivering high-quality customer service and trusted scientific results to the Heartland for the next 20 years.”

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (KS) joined the lease renewal event. “The EPA’s Science and Technology Lab is a source of high-quality jobs for the Kansas City and Wyandotte County communities,” said Moran. “Renewing this lease will make certain the work being done at the lab to promote clean air and drinking water for Kansas communities continues, while also bolstering the Kansas City economy.”

EPA is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) to reduce the facility footprint by moving entirely to the first floor of the two-story building and reconfiguring cubicle spaces, while fully retaining the original laboratory space. GSA Public Buildings Service Region 6 Leasing Director Shellie Gill also joined the event.

"The lab lease renewal highlights how the GSA is harnessing a unique moment for the federal workplace by evolving the services we offer and optimizing the federal footprint in partnership with our agency customers like the EPA," said Gill.

The KCSTC is accredited through the International Standards Organization (ISO) 17025 for all analyses and holds an EPA Drinking Water Certification for microbiological analyses. In fiscal year 2022, the KCSTC analyzed over 21,000 environmental samples. Together, these analyses represent over $4 million in support to state programs for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and the nine tribal nations in the region.

Services include:

  • Water quality monitoring
  • Emerging contaminant testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • Soil analysis for lead and bioaccessible lead
  • Harmful algal bloom monitoring for states
  • Urban stream monitoring
  • Air volatile organic analysis for Superfund sites
  • Fish tissue testing for mercury for states and tribes
What They’re Saying

Congressional Members

“This is great news, and ensures that Kansas will remain home to the most productive EPA laboratory through 2043. Kansas City, Kansas, will no doubt benefit from the well-paying jobs made available in the community for the next 20 years.” – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (KS)

“The Kansas City Science and Technology Center is not only helping to protect our region and country’s environment, but also employing local workers in the Kansas City area. I am glad this laboratory will continue their important work in our community and commend their efforts to save taxpayer dollars.” – U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (KS-3)

Background

The Kansas City Science and Technology Center (KCSTC) is one of 10 regional laboratories in the EPA Regional Laboratory Network that provides field monitoring, analytical support, and data assessments in support of Agency decisions and goals.

The KCSTC opened in spring 2003 as a build-to-suit facility. It is built on a Brownfields redevelopment site, meaning the redevelopment of the land was complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The facility was built with recycled and sustainably sourced materials to promote energy efficiency and water conservation, and achieved LEED® Gold for New Construction (version 2.0) certification in August 2003.

The KCSTC has a unique graywater reuse system that collects rainwater from the roof and air handler condensate discharge, and a reverse osmosis system that generates pure water for laboratory experiments. The graywater is used to flush toilets and as cooling tower makeup water.

Read more about this EPA sustainable construction project.

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EPA to Hold Open House Meeting in Santa Teresa, New Mexico on Health Risks from Ethylene Oxide Emissions

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (October 27th, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is committed to reducing health risks associated with toxic air pollution and is working to update and strengthen Clean Air Act standards for commercial sterilizers to achieve that goal. As part of that process, EPA is conducting an open house meeting with the community of Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

EPA is conducting an open house meeting with the community of Santa Teresa, NM to share information about EtO emissions from the Sterigenics Santa Teresa facility. During the session, representatives will be available to discuss health risks associated with EtO, and EPA actions to address these risks. EPA staff and other experts will be placed at tables throughout the room, organized by topic.

EPA aims to improve public understanding of the risk; help the community and the industry reduce risk from EtO in the near-term; and hear input as EPA continues to develop regulations to reduce air pollution from commercial sterilizers.   

The upcoming meeting for Santa Teresa will be held on: 

  • November 1, 2022
  • War Eagles Air Museum - 8012 Airport Rd Santa Teresa, NM 88008
  • From 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

For registration and more detailed information please visit our webpage or contact us at eto@epa.gov


Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces over $50 million from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for Georgia Districts

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

ATLANTA (October 27, 2022) – On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding over $50 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 15 school districts in GA. The grants will help school districts purchase over 149 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

“I am happy to announce that schools in Chattahoochee, Macon, and Calhoun Counties are receiving over $4.3 million in rebates for the purchase of clean school buses. An electric school bus can save a school district, on average $2,000 in fuel costs and $4,400 in maintenance costs each year. Electric school buses are also healthier for our students who would otherwise be exposed to concentrated levels of air pollution in fossil fuel-powered buses,” said Congressman Sanford Bishop. “These buses are being manufactured right here in Middle Georgia and being purchased by many schools across the country. The bipartisan infrastructure law is delivering for Georgians by helping keep children healthy, saving schools money, and supporting good-paying, local jobs.”

“We know that our transportation sector – cars, trucks and buses – accounts for a majority of the greenhouses gases we emit in the U.S.,” said Congressman Hank Johnson, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law marks a generational change and renews investments in a cleaner, more sustainable future for America. I look forward to the EPA’s new Clean School Bus Program benefitting school districts in the metro Atlanta area and throughout the state of Georgia.”

“Every student–including my seven-year-old son Carter–deserves a healthy school day. That should start before they even get on the bus. The Clean School Bus Program will help Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Public Schools deliver a healthier day for their students as they get ready to change the world. Environmentally friendly school buses will also help the communities they drive through. This is another example of how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering for all Georgians–no matter their ZIP Code, no matter their bank account,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and this historic funding is an innovative way to reduce the serious health impacts of diesel emissions as children ride to and from school,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The BIL Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality and human health not only for our children, but for the communities where they live and play.”

Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities like:

Adel, GA                  Cook County Schools                                                          $790,000                    

Athens, GA             Clarke County Schools                                                        $300,000                    

Atlanta, GA             Atlanta Board of Education                                               $9,875,000     

Blairsville, GA       Union County School District                                            $1,580,000                 

Cusseta, GA           Chattahoochee County Schools                                       $1,580,000                 

Edison, GA             Pataula Charter Academy                                                    $790,000

Folkston, GA         Charlton County Board of Education                              $1,580,000     

Greenville, GA      Meriwether County of Board of Education                   $3,160,000     

Hazelhurst, GA    Jeff Davis County School District                                      $1,185,000     

Jonesboro, GA     Clayton County Public Schools                                         $9,875,000     

Ludowici, GA         Long County Board of Education                                     $3,950,000     

Oglethorpe, GA     Macon County Schools                                                         $1,975,000

Savannah, GA        Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education      $9,875,000     

Tifton, GA                 Tift County Schools                                                                $1,975,000     

Washington, GA     Wilkes County Schools                                                         $2,335,000      

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

 These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

EPA Reaches Settlement with Petroff Trucking Company, Inc., Over Destroyed Wetlands in East St. Louis, Illinois

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

CHICAGO (Oct. 27, 2022) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Petroff Trucking Company, Inc., for an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act. The company has agreed to purchase and secure 15.5 wetland acres to compensate for wetlands it destroyed in East St. Louis, Illinois.

The settlement is memorialized in a proposed consent decree that the United States lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on October 25, 2022.

“The wetlands of the American Bottoms are vital to the water quality and flood control of the Mississippi River Valley,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Today’s settlement ensures that this significant environmental asset is valued and that those who damage it are held accountable.”

In 2020, the United States, on behalf of EPA, alleged in a complaint that from 2016 through 2019, Petroff Trucking Company, Inc., dredged, filled, and excavated 15.5 acres of wetlands without a permit in clear violation of the Clean Water Act. The operation discharged pollutants into the wetlands which led to their complete destruction. 

Petroff Trucking Company, Inc., will not pay a civil penalty pursuant to the civil penalty factors of the Clean Water Act and EPA policy. The Department of Justice and EPA completed a financial analysis of Petroff’s financial documentation and found that it was formally dissolving and no longer had an ability to pay a civil penalty. However, Petroff has agreed to find and expend $259,000 to buy compensatory wetlands to resolve this action.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. For more information, copies of the complaint and the consent decree will be available on the Department of Justice website.

EPA Enforcement Actions in 2022 Help Protect Public Health and the Environment from Dangers of Lead Exposure

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, EPA released its 2022 Lead Enforcement Bulletin, which highlights the most notable lead enforcement cases during the past fiscal year. EPA pursued both civil and criminal cases for violations of federal laws to prevent and reduce exposure to lead in paint, drinking water, soils, hazardous waste and other environmental sources. Many of the enforcement actions and activities highlighted in the Lead Enforcement Bulletin address lead exposures in communities disproportionately impacted by lead and areas with environmental justice concerns.

"Despite our understanding of the negative health impacts that can result from lead exposure, many Americans are still exposed, and this is particularly true for underserved and overburdened communities,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Over the last year, EPA took numerous enforcement actions to protect the public from lead exposure.”

Lead-based Paint

The Bulletin highlights both civil settlements and criminal sanctions for violations involving lead in paint:

  • The latest cases against companies whose alleged renovation violations were broadcast on national television involved renovators on the shows “Maine Cabin Masters” and “Good Bones.”   In both cases, the companies agreed to pay civil penalties and educate the public about lead-safe work practices, among other things.  Other recent enforcement actions also addressed alleged renovation violations aired on the television shows “Magnolia Homes,” “Texas Flip N Move,” and “Rehab Addict and Bargain Mansions.” 
  • A renovation company agreed to pay a $137,804 civil penalty to settle alleged renovation violations. 
  • A property management/development firm agreed to pay a civil penalty to resolve alleged renovation and asbestos violations in an area with environmental justice concerns.
  • Two criminal cases resulted in sentences and fines. One was for a property manager that failed to disclose known lead paint hazards to prospective tenants and the second was for the owner/operator of a lead inspection firm for falsifying lead paint inspection reports.

Lead in Drinking Water

The Bulletin highlights EPA’s issuance of an order to Benton Harbor, Michigan’s Public Water System to address elevated lead levels in drinking water and other violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This unilateral administrative order requires the City of Benton Harbor’s Public Water System to inform consumers when lead action level exceedances are detected and improve applications of orthophosphate for corrosion control, in addition to repairs at the water treatment plant and improvements to disinfection. The order also requires an independent third-party analysis of alternatives for long-term operation and maintenance of the system.

Lead in Soil / Superfund / Hazardous Waste

The Bulletin highlights:

  • A settlement to recover approximately $1,950,000 in costs for the cleanup of lead-contaminated soil in the Chicago area. 
  • EPA’s order requiring the removal of lead-contaminated soil from 58 residential properties in Viburnum, Missouri.
  • EPA’s selection of a remedy to address lead and other contamination at a Lead Superfund site in Indiana.
  • Criminal sanctions for a former landfill director for illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste containing lead in North Carolina.
  • EPA’s order to prevent the release of lead to the environment from a waste processing facility in Georgia.

In addition, the Bulletin highlights EPA enforcement and compliance assurance activities that address lead exposures from air emissions at federal facilities and on tribal lands. 

More information about lead.

Help protect our environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations.

MEDIA ADVISORY: EPA and Congressman Clyburn to Recognize South Carolina’s Receipt of $58 Million for Clean School Buses in Orangeburg on Tuesday

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

ORANGEBURG, SC. – The EPA together with other federal, state and local partners will host a press event in Orangeburg next week to highlight South Carolina’s receipt of upwards of $58 million for clean school buses. Historic investment from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law is headed to all 50 states in an effort to transform America’s school bus fleet. South Carolina is the state with the third highest total of awards this year.

WHAT:    Clean School Bus Press Event in Orangeburg, S.C.                                                                         

WHO:     Congressman James E. Clyburn, Majority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives

                 Daniel Blackman, EPA Region 4 Administrator

                 Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education

                 Dr. Shawn D. Foster, Orangeburg County School District Superintendent

                 Johnnie Wright, Orangeburg County Council Chairman

WHEN:  Tuesday, November 1, 2022

                 12:00 – 12:45 pm EST

WHERE: Orangeburg County School District Administration Building,

                   102 Founders Court, Orangeburg, SC 29118

Please email region4press@epa.gov to confirm your participation

Biden-Harris Administration Announces over $36 million from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for Mississippi School Districts

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

JACKSON, Miss. (October 27, 2022) – On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding over $36 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 9 school districts in Miss. The grants will help school districts purchase over 96 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

“I am pleased to support the work that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is completing for the areas in my district,” said Congressman Bennie G. Thompson. “The $5 million will help the school districts purchase clean school buses. Many of the students in my district rely on school buses while traveling to and from school. I am thankful for the Biden-Harris Administration and the work that they continue to do. This is only the beginning for providing a healthier future and clean air that all children deserve.”

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and this historic funding is an innovative way to reduce the serious health impacts of diesel emissions as children ride to and from school,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The BIL Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality and human health not only for our children, but for the communities where they live and play.”

Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities like:

Hollandale, Miss.            Hollandale School District                          $1,580,000

Grenada, Miss.                Grenada School District                              $790,000

Vicksburg, Miss.              Vicksburg Warren School District             $3,500,000

Coldwater, Miss.             Tate County School District                        $1,185,000

Houlka, Miss.                   Chickasaw County School District            $4,345,000

Pittsboro, Miss.               Calhoun County School District                $9,875,000

Jackson, Miss.                 Jackson Public School District 2520          $9,875,000

Choctaw, Miss.                Choctaw Central High School                    $3,660,000

Aberdeen, Miss.              Aberdeen School District                           $1,580,000

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

 

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

 

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

 

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

###

Biden-Harris Administration Announces over $12 million from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for North Carolina School District

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

RALEIGH, NC (October 27, 2022) – On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding over $12 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 5 school districts in NC. The grants will help school districts purchase over 31 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and this historic funding is an innovative way to reduce the serious health impacts of diesel emissions as children ride to and from school,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The BIL Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality and human health not only for our children, but for the communities where they live and play.”

"These grants are great news for North Carolina," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "Our state is working hard toward a clean energy future and clean buses are good for both our communities and economy. We’ll continue working with the Biden Administration to implement this funding so that more schools across North Carolina can take this step toward a healthier future for students."

“I am very pleased that through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, Durham’s own Discovery Charter School will be awarded $2.25 million for six new electric school buses,” said Congressman David Price, Chairman of the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee. “The Biden Administration is taking the critical steps necessary to building a greener and healthier future through these historic clean energy investments that will drastically reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in the areas that need it most.”

Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities like:

Durham, NC                 Discovery Charter School                             $2,370,000 

Elizabethtown, NC    Bladen County Schools                                 $1,975,000

Halifax, NC                   Halifax County School District                    $1,580,000

Sanford, NC                  Mina Charter School of Lee County         $2,765,000     

Whiteville, NC              Columbus County Schools                           $3,555,000                 

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

EPA Awards Nearly $2M in Research and Issues Action Plan to Help Small Communities Protect Public Health and Increase Access to Clean Water

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Action Plan and announced nearly $2 million in research grant funding to accelerate innovative and alternative wastewater treatment technologies in lagoon and pond systems serving small communities. Through research grants and the first ever Action Plan, EPA is providing equitable, accessible, and coordinated technical and financial programs, resources, and assistance that will help improve public health and clean waterway protections for rural, small, and Tribal communities that rely on lagoon wastewater treatment systems.

“Many small and rural communities in the United States rely on a wastewater treatment process that falls short of environmental and public health protection,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The Lagoon Action Plan will help communities with lagoon systems ensure their local water quality isn’t impacted by improper wastewater management.”

“Lagoon wastewater systems are essential to many small, rural, and Tribal communities,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “EPA is funding this research to help improve water quality and better serve these communities.”

Lagoon wastewater treatment systems are a common form of decentralized wastewater treatment that uses earthen ponds to break down wastewater using natural biological processes. These systems are particularly attractive to small or rural communities because of their low operating cost, built-in solids storage, and low minimal operating requirements.

The Lagoon Action Plan outlines critical actions that EPA will implement through 2026 to assist rural, small, and Tribal communities with lagoon wastewater treatment systems. The plan will identify how many lagoon wastewater treatment systems are in the United States; provide financial and technical assistance tools – including tools to help underserved communities access Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding; develop cost and performance data for technologies, regulatory support tools, and plans for community engagement, communication, and partnerships.

EPA is awarding $2 million to research and provide information that can help small communities deploy demonstrated innovative water technologies for lagoon systems, which will help achieve better nutrient management in a cost-effective manner. The following universities will be receiving an award:

  • Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich., to deploy and test a floating treatment wetland system in a lagoon in a small community in northern Michigan.
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown W.Va., to evaluate current and potential technology options to remove nutrients from lagoons systems and use this information to develop a decision-support tool that can be used to determine cost-effective technologies that can improve nutrient removal in lagoon systems in small communities.

Learn more about the funded recipients.

Learn more about EPA research grants.

Background

Small lagoon communities typically serve fewer than 3,000 people and frequently lack the necessary financial and technical resources to comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA). Many of these communities utilized lagoon wastewater systems as the only way to treat their community wastewater. Over 4,500 of these facilities are discharging lagoon wastewater systems that do not rely on more advanced supplemental technology; this is about one-quarter of the nation’s Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) regulated by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) program.

EPA has a 30+ year history of helping communities invest in water infrastructure projects, like lagoon systems. Since 1988, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) has provided over $153 billion in low-cost assistance to borrowers across the country – with small communities receiving almost $35 billion. And thanks to additional funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), over $3 billion is available through the CWSRF in FY 2022, of which a significant portion will be made available as grants or forgivable loans and below market rate loans, down to 0% interest. Through the Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative, EPA and USDA-RD are leveraging technical assistance to help historically underserved communities access these funding sources to address their wastewater needs.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces nearly $59 million from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for South Carolina Districts

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

COLUMBIA, SC (October 27, 2022) - On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding nearly $59 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 16 school districts in SC. The grants will help school districts purchase over 148 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

“The infrastructure bill is delivering critical resources for the communities I represent, which has always been my top priority,” said Congressman Clyburn. “This initial investment of $58 million for South Carolina, including $25.28 million for the Sixth District, will have a lasting impact on rural communities by providing students with reliable and climate-friendly transportation. South Carolina received the third greatest allocation of all the states in this round of awards, and there will be additional funding to come over the next four years of this program to assist even more communities across the state.”

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and this historic funding is an innovative way to reduce the serious health impacts of diesel emissions as children ride to and from school,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “The BIL Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality and human health not only for our children, but for the communities where they live and play.” 

Today’s announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for districts in cities like:

Abbeville, SC          Abbeville 60          $3,160,000  

Anderson, SC         Anderson 05          $4,740,000                          

Barnwell, SC          Barnwell 45            $1,975,000  

Chester, SC             Chester 01              $3,160,000               

Clinton, SC              Lauren 56              $2,765,000

Columbia, SC         Richland 01           $6,320,000

Georgetown, SC    Georgetown 01    $6,320,000                           

Iva, SC                        Anderson 03         $1,580,000   

Marion, SC               Marion 10              $4,740,000   

McCormick, SC      McCormick 01       $1,580,000

Orangeburg, SC    Orangeburg            $6,320,000

Ridgeland, SC        Jasper 01                 $1,580,000               

St. George, SC        Dorchester 04        $3,160,000               

Sumter, SC              Sumter 01                $4,740,000              

Varnville, SC           Hampton                  $3,160,000  

Winnsboro, SC       Fairfield 01               $3,160,000 

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

 These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

EPA, City of Dallas Recognize Lead Poisoning Prevention Week at West Dallas Community Center

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (Oct. 27, 2022) – This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of Children’s Environmental Health Month, recognizes Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning, Regional Administrator Earthea Nance and staff from EPA Region 6 spoke with children and families at the Wesley Rankin Community Center in Dallas, Texas. The event was held in partnership with the city of Dallas Environmental Commission.

“Lead exposure and poisoning remain threats for children, especially those who live or go to school in older buildings, and can lead to lifelong health issues,” said Regional Administrator Earthea Nance. “But the good news is these threats are largely preventable by avoiding exposure. During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week—and throughout the year—EPA and the Biden-Harris Administration will keep working to raise awareness and provide investments to keep children all across the nation safe in their homes and schools.”

“As someone who grew up in the shadow of a lead smelter plant in West Dallas, I firmly believe in the importance of understanding the risks of lead poisoning and exposure,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “All of our children deserve to grow up in safe and healthy communities, and I am grateful to the EPA for its work to raise awareness of this issue in Dallas.”

RA Nance read a book and led an activity on the dangers of lead with a group of young children at the Wesley Rankin Community Center. She and Region 6 staff also spoke with parents and distributed educational materials on common lead exposures and how to avoid them. The center serves families in West Dallas, an area with many homes built before 1978, when lead was banned in paint in the United States. 

EPA and the city of Dallas also joined for another event at the Margaret Cone Head Start facility in Southeast Dallas, where staff read with children and distributed educational materials for parents.

Although the federal government banned residential use of lead-based paint in 1978, it is still present in millions of older homes. Infants, children, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead exposure, which can, even at low levels, cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. A blood-lead test is the only way to determine if a child has an elevated blood-lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead should contact their health care provider. 

EPA includes Lead Poisoning Prevention Week as part of Children’s Health Month, celebrated each October. EPA’s Office of Children’s Environmental Health was established to ensure EPA’s work consistently accounts for the way environmental hazards affect infants and children. Children are often more vulnerable to pollutants than adults due to differences in behavior and biology, that can lead to greater exposure and/or unique windows of susceptibility during development.

Visit EPA’s Children’s Health webpage to learn more about the Agency’s work to protect children’s environmental health.

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

EPA Penalizes Property Management and Development Firm in Waterbury for Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint Violations

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

WATERBURY, CONN. (Oct. 27, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reached a settlement with Russell Apartments, LLC, a Connecticut property management and development firm located in Waterbury, for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The company agreed to pay a penalty of $25,000 and to certify its return to compliance with these federal laws.

"Reducing exposure to lead and other chemicals is a top priority for EPA, especially in communities that may have shouldered a disproportionate share of exposure," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "This settlement, triggered by EPA's Connecticut Geo Initiative on Lead, increases awareness and improves compliance with lead paint renovation laws, as well as asbestos Clean Air Act laws, to ensure Waterbury families are better protected."

EPA alleged that Russell Apartments, LLC (Russell) violated both the asbestos regulations under the CAA Section 112 and the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (Asbestos NESHAP) and the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule under TSCA.

Russell allegedly violated the CAA's Asbestos NESHAP rule by failing to notify EPA of its intention to renovate, failing to adequately wet while stripping asbestos, and failing to keep asbestos waste material adequately wet. The company also allegedly violated the Lead RRP Rule by failing to train and certify their contractors in lead-based paint remediation when it carried out regulated renovation activities at a facility at 73 – 77 Bank Street in Waterbury.

Both alleged violations occurred in areas of the facility containing regulated asbestos-containing material and lead-based paint. After Russell discovered the potential violations, the company obtained the services of an environmental abatement firm to address violative conditions at the site and bring the facility into full compliance.

The facility is located in a potential environmental justice area of concern and was part of a geographic initiative in Connecticut to address areas with environmental justice concerns. This is also the first known case by EPA's New England Region, that addressed both CAA asbestos and TSCA lead-based paint violations.

Background Information

Over the past several years, EPA New England has conducted geographically focused outreach and compliance assistance efforts to raise awareness about lead-based paint hazards among painters and home renovation companies, property managers and landlords, as well as private homeowners. Though lead-based paint was banned in 1978, EPA focuses its work in certain areas because they were identified as areas with a higher risk of lead paint exposure due to older housing stock, high rates of renter occupied housing, and mapped data showing elevated blood lead levels.

EPA prioritizes educating companies and informing the public about federal lead paint rules. EPA's RRP Rule is designed to prevent children's exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present. If lead painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the RRP Rule requires individual renovators to complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA. These baseline requirements are critical to ensuring that companies take responsibility for their employees following proper lead-safe work practices by containing and managing lead dust and chips created during such projects. Further, the RRP Rule requires that specific records be created and maintained to document compliance with the law.

Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure, which can cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems. Lead exposures to pregnant woman can impact their unborn children's health as well.

More information

Federal Lead Paint

Asbestos

New England Experienced a Slight Increase in the Number of Unhealthy Air Quality Days During the 2022 Ozone Season

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:00

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) New England regional office today confirmed that New Englanders experienced a slight increase in the number of unhealthy air quality days this year, compared with 2021. Based on preliminary data collected between March and September 2022, there were 24 days when ozone monitors in New England recorded ozone concentrations above levels considered healthy. By contrast, in 2021 there were 23 unhealthy ozone days in New England.

"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of federal and state efforts, we made great progress in reducing ozone pollution over the past several decades and providing cleaner air for our communities," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Unfortunately, New England and especially coastal Connecticut continues to experience an unacceptable number of days with unhealthful air quality. EPA is taking steps to improve ozone air quality, such as implementing rules to reduce air pollution from passenger cars and trucks and power plants."

The number of unhealthy ozone days in each state this summer (and for last summer) is as follows:

  • 23 days in Connecticut (compared with 21 in 2021)
  • 2 days in Maine (4 in 2021)
  • 4 days in Massachusetts (4 in 2021)
  • 2 days in New Hampshire (3 in 2021)
  • 5 days in Rhode Island (5 in 2021)
  • 0 days in Vermont (0 in 2021).

Ground-level ozone forms when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen, or NOX, (ozone precursors) interact in the presence of strong sunshine. Large combustion sources, cars, trucks, and buses emit most of the pollution that creates ozone. Emissions from gasoline stations, print shops, household products like paints and some cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment, also add to the ozone problem.

The number of unhealthy days (when ozone concentrations exceed the 0.070 parts per million standard) varies from year to year, due to weather conditions. Hot, sunny, summery weather is conducive to ozone formation. For 2022, the summer was hot and dry. Much of New England experienced above average temperatures and below average precipitation, with many regions experiencing severe drought as a result, especially during July and August. This is reflected in the number of unhealthy days across five of the six New England states during those two months. Since 1983, New England has experienced a decrease in the number of unhealthy ozone days. In 1983, New England had 118 unhealthy days, compared with 24 this year. This downward trend is due to a reduction in emissions that form ozone.

In 2014, EPA finalized stringent standards for new cars sold after 2017. The automobile and gasoline rule, known as Tier 3, will help lower automobile pollution by a significant margin. The Tier 3 emissions standards for cars represent an additional 80% reduction of ozone-causing pollution when compared to the average in 2014. In addition, EPA issued an update to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which went into effect on June 29, 2021. This rule reduces summertime NOX emissions from power plants in 12 states in the eastern United States. EPA is currently working to achieve additional reductions through the proposed Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards for new trucks and the Good Neighbor Plan for 2015 Ozone NAAQS for power plants and other large industrial sources. Once finalized, these rules will better control the many of the most significant sources of pollution that contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. Although the 2022 ozone season is ending, pollution from small particles in the air is a year-round concern.

More information:

The daily air quality forecast will continue to be available at: https://www3.epa.gov/region1/airquality/aqi.html. New Englanders can also sign up at this address to receive air quality alerts. These alerts are issued by email, whenever necessary, to notify program participants when high concentrations of ground-level ozone or small particles are predicted to occur, in their area.

Historical charts of unhealthy air days from 1983 through 2022 are available for each New England state on EPA New England's website at: https://www3.epa.gov/region1/airquality/histexc.html. A preliminary list of the unhealthy readings recorded this summer by date and monitor location, and corresponding air quality maps for each day, can be found at: https://www3.epa.gov/region1/airquality/o3exceed-22.html.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces More than $29 Million from EPA's Clean School Bus Program for Five Massachusetts School Districts

Wed, 10/26/2022 - 19:00

BOSTON (October 26, 2022) — Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding $29,570,000 from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to five school districts in Massachusetts. The grants will help school districts purchase 76 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.

Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan will join schoolchildren, district leaders and community members in Seattle, Washington, later today to make the announcement and highlight how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children's health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

"President Biden's historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation's transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children's health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve."

"With the new Clean School Bus program, EPA is delivering significant funding to Massachusetts school districts for clean electric school buses, with a particular focus on reducing air pollution in several areas with a large proportion of historically-disadvantaged communities with priority needs," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "These zero-emission vehicles will help provide cleaner and healthier air for school children, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change."

Today's announcement includes funding for buses and infrastructure for the following school districts in Massachusetts:

City of Fall River, 11 school buses, $3,895,000
Bourne/Upper Cape Cod Regional Vocational Technical School District, one school bus, $395,000
New Bedford, 14 school buses, $5,530,000
West Springfield/Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, 25 school buses, $9,875,000
Lawrence, 25 school buses, $9,875,000

"Students shouldn't have to breathe dirty air on their ride to school," said U.S. Senator Edward Markey. "I applaud the EPA's latest efforts to use funding passed by Congress to support the deployment of dozens of clean school buses to districts educating more than 30,000 of our Commonwealth's students. A safe, clean ride to school is critical for students' health. Clean school buses will mean more learning and less fossil fuel burning."

"I am excited that five school districts across Massachusetts will be receiving nearly $30 million to replace existing school buses with clean, low-emissions ones. This funding, provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help protect our children and members of the community from diesel emissions, reduce maintenance costs, and work towards our climate goals," said Senator U.S. Elizabeth Warren.

"Since getting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law across the finish line almost a year ago, I've been working with local leaders like Mayor DePeña to ensure communities across the district get the funding they need," said Congresswoman Lori Trahan. "I couldn't be more thrilled to see Lawrence taking full advantage of this law to build a greener future with cleaner air for our students, our families, and our community. I look forward to welcoming this new fleet of electric school buses and continuing our work across the federal, state, and local levels to deliver more federal investments like this one."

"Replacing existing school buses with zero-emission and lower-emission models is a big step forward for students' health and Fall River's climate action. I'll continue to support these forward-looking efforts," said Congressman Jake Auchincloss.

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

At this time, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students' health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden's Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.