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EPA Region 7 Celebrates Clean School Bus Rebate Program in Sidney, Iowa

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00
EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister (far right) presents Sidney Community School District Superintendent Tim Hood (far left) and School District members with a ceremonial check for $1.185 million. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)

LENEXA, KAN. (NOV. 1, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 celebrated the award of nearly $1.2 million in funding to the Sidney Community School District in Sidney, Iowa, to purchase three electric school buses through the Agency’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program.

The district was one of 13 Iowa recipients of the 2022 EPA Clean School Bus Rebate competition from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In total, Iowa school districts received $11.1 million in funding to purchase 28 electric school buses and two propane buses.

“The announcement of $11.1 million for Iowa school districts to purchase 30 clean school buses could not come at a better time,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “As EPA wraps up Children’s Health Month, this investment in electric school buses represents the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to the health of our children and to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases in our communities.”

“Too many of our school children ride old and unsafe buses that pollute the air, and this has been directly tied to asthma,” said U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (IA-3). “I am pleased to see money I helped secure by voting for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law make its way back to Iowa. This investment in Sidney’s school buses will reduce air pollution and improve the health of students and the community.”

“In addition to being excited about the health and safety benefits of this electric bus grant for Sidney’s students, we see this as a way to save our community members’ tax dollars,” said Tim Hood, Sidney Community School District superintendent. “Three new school buses with quiet and clean operation will cost less to fuel than our old buses. Being around electric buses will be a great learning experience for our students and community, too. Many thanks to the EPA, the bipartisan folks who got this bill through, and special thanks to our Transportation Director Tim Limerick and Business Manager Tricia Glockel for the extra work they put into writing Sidney’s grant.”

Additionally, school districts throughout Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska also received funding to purchase clean school buses through the Clean School Bus Rebate program. Including Iowa school districts, a total of $41.7 million was awarded to 51 districts in Region 7 to purchase a total of 109 clean school buses (106 electric and three propane).

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.

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.

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EPA $18.5 Million Rebate Will Put Clean School Buses on the Streets of New York City

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK - The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is transforming how New York City children get to school, accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles, and producing cleaner air for our communities. That is the message delivered today by EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan, Mayor Eric Adams, and other state and local leaders on the steps of City Hall in New York. EPA is making rebate awards nearing $18,500,000 available to three New York City school districts, allowing the purchase of 51 new clean school buses to take the streets.

“Protecting our kids and tackling the climate crisis is a win-win. New York City has one of the country's highest asthma rates among children and young adults. Transitioning away from dirty diesel and toward clean electric buses is a climate smart investment in our children's future,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "Cleaner air and less pollution are a net positive for every community in New York, and thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law this is just the beginning.” 

“We want our children’s future to be safe and sound with clean air and a healthy environment, so we are taking big steps to make sure their yellow school busses are green,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This announcement is what happens when government works for all of us. More than $18 million in funding to purchase clean busses that run entirely on renewable energy will improve our kid’s lives and accelerate our transition to zero-emission school busses. It is clear that we must make big changes to protect our environment, our children, and our future from climate change and New York City is leading the way.”

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, as the wheels of the new, electric school buses go round and round, carbon emissions and pollution are going to keep going down and down,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. “Over $18 million will supercharge our efforts to fight climate change and power over 50 brand new electric buses in New York City to keep our air clean, kids safe and our communities healthy. I am proud to deliver this tremendous environmental justice investment that will put our students on the road to a brighter future and a cleaner commute.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Massive federal investments and the sustained commitment to clean transportation by the Biden-Harris Administration, Majority Leader Schumer, and the State’s Congressional delegation will help bring New York one step closer to reaching Governor Hochul’s goals for zero-emission school buses here in New York City, and statewide. With $18.5 million going directly to help bring cleaner air to the city’s schoolchildren, we thank EPA Administrator Regan and Regional Administrator Garcia for working with New York State to support the transition to cleaner transportation.” 

“As Schools Chancellor, my absolute top priority is student safety and wellbeing. This includes wellbeing in our school communities. Through the electrification of buses, we are doing our part to create a cleaner and greener city,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “I’m grateful to the EPA for the essential work they are doing as part of this program, not just here in New York City, but across the nation.”

New York City Clean School Bus Coalition said, “The NYC Clean School Bus Coalition is thrilled that 51 electric school buses will be added to the New York City fleet as a result of the EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program. Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Mayor Adams, and EPA Regional Administrator Garcia understand that electric school buses provide cleaner air for our schoolchildren and the communities that surround our school bus depots, improving public health and leading the transition to clean transportation and we are grateful for their support in this effort.”

“The work that the EPA is doing to increase the number of electric school buses is exactly the type of leadership effort we need in order to reduce emissions and shrink their carbon footprint. As the leader in EV School Bus sales in New York State, Bird Bus is proud to support the New York City school bus contractors with the tools they need to succeed now and, in the future, as they achieve their green fleet goals. The largest school district in the United States is going green and we are excited about being a critical part of the process,” explained Robert Reichenbach, President of Bird Bus Sales.

Today's announcement celebrates the $18,345,000 funding for buses and infrastructure for the NYC Chancellor's Office, Geographic District #1 and Community Partnership Charter School in Brooklyn. These awards are part of EPA's Clean School Bus Rebate Program, which awarded $69,620,000 to applicants related to 22 school districts in New York State, allowing the future purchase of 184 clean school buses

Applicant Organization

New York School Districts

Location

# Of Clean School Buses

Total Funding Amount

J.P. Bus & Truck Repair Ltd.

NYC Chancellor’s Office

New York City

25

$8,075,000

J.P. Bus & Truck Repair Ltd.

NYC Geographic District #1

New York City

25

$9,875,000

NESCO Bus & Truck Sales, Inc.

Community Partnership Charter School

Brooklyn

1

$395,000

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 funding 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.

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 selected projects. 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 that 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, including an ambitious grant competition. Through future funding rounds, EPA will make another $1 billion available 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 new clean school buses while freeing up needed school resources.

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.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

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EPA Announces $52 Million WIFIA Loan to Modernize Drinking Water Infrastructure in Pflugerville, Texas

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $52 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Pflugerville, Texas, to support its Water Treatment Plant Expansion Project. With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping to increase how much drinking water the plant can treat and making the water safer to drink through new treatment and filtration technology.

“Congratulations to the City of Pflugerville on closing the first WIFIA loan in the State of Texas,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “With this loan, the EPA is providing the City of Pflugerville with low-cost financing to undertake critical upgrades to their drinking water system that serves 76,000 residents.”

The Water Treatment Plant Expansion project will increase the City of Pflugerville’s drinking water system’s capacity to meet projected demand from 17.7 million gallons per day to 30 million gallons per day. To address water quality concerns and protect public health, the city will upgrade drinking water infrastructure and utilize new pretreatment and filtration technologies to enhance the system’s disinfection process and help meet EPA standards. Overall, these improvements will help the system comply with regulatory requirements, enhance overall system resiliency, and meet projected water demand through 2050.

“I'm monumentally excited about this project and our strategic funding strategies because it delivers what the residents deserve for clean water at a great price,” said Brandon Pritchett, Public Utility Director, City of Pflugerville. “While we have to do a lot of work to get there, it delivers a project that the ratepayers deserve, and a clean product that's going to be resilient and robust for the next 30 years.”

By financing with a WIFIA loan, the City of Pflugerville will save over $13 million and will be able to accelerate other capital improvement projects for its drinking water system. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023, and construction and operation are estimated to create approximately 325 jobs. Through WIFIA and $50 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is working to deliver the benefits of water infrastructure improvements to communities across the country.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The WIFIA program’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. 

The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 93 WIFIA loans that are providing $16 billion in credit assistance to help finance over $34 billion for water infrastructure while creating 103,000 jobs and saving ratepayers $5.5 billion.

EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. In June, EPA announced the availability of $5.5 billion under the 2022 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1 billion under the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. Together, this newly available funding will support more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs. Learn more about submitting a letter of interest for a WIFIA or SWIFIA loan.

EPA Region 4 Announces 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award Winners

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

ATLANTA (November 1, 2022) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 office is recognizing three Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners for achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals.

The Safer Choice program helps consumers and purchasers for facilities, such as schools and office buildings, find products that perform and are safer for human health and the environment. In support of the Biden-Harris Administration goals, EPA encouraged submission of award applications that show how the applicant’s work in the design, manufacture, selection and use of those products promotes environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water or improves drinking water quality.

"We are proud to recognize the Home Depot in Georgia, Novozymes North America in North Carolina, and the ODP Corporation in Florida for their commitment to promote and manufacture safer chemicals," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “Their achievements as a Safer Choice Retailor, Innovator, and Distributor provide consumers and commercial buyers with products that are safer for communities and the environment.”

The Home Depot, Atlanta, Ga.

The Home Depot is recognized as an outstanding Safer Choice Retailer. In 2021, The Home Depot relaunched their Eco Options website as Eco Actions to emphasize their commitment to the environment. Safer Choice-certified products are included as a subcategory within the Eco Actions Responsible Chemistry category. The Home Depot also increased its offerings of Safer Choice-certified products, from 173 products in 2020 to 185 in 2021. The Home Depot’s website features Safer Choice-certified products, many of which have labels on the front of the products, making the Safer Choice label visible to website users. The company also raises awareness of the Safer Choice label by displaying it on product lifestyle images and through in-store signage. This exposure reaches an estimated 21 million individuals per week. Safer Choice applauds The Home Depot’s dedication to selling products with safer chemical ingredients.

Novozymes North America, Raleigh, N.C.

Novozymes is recognized as an outstanding Safer Choice Innovator. In 2021, Novozymes added six ingredients to CleanGredients, a database of chemical ingredients pre-approved for use in Safer Choice-certified products. Novozymes supported 12 requests made by formulators and brand owners for certification of formulations by the Safer Choice program. The company also ran a survey of 1,000 consumers in the United States to gather data on consumer perception of Safer Choice as the most trustworthy certification on laundry products. Novozymes provided this information to formulators to help them understand how Safer Choice certification enables commercial success. To build awareness of the Safer Choice program, Novozymes promoted the Safer Choice program and their Safer Choice-certified products on its website and social media channels. Novozymes showed its commitment to EPA’s goal of addressing climate change by working to reduce carbon emissions. Novozymes has also committed to ensuring zero waste by 2030. The company is well on its way to this goal, with a recycling rate of non-biomass waste at 62% in 2021, compared to 48% in 2020. Safer Choice commends Novozymes work to manufacture safer chemicals in a sustainable manner.

The ODP Corporation, Boca Raton, Fla.

The ODP Corporation (ODP), formerly Office Depot, is recognized as an outstanding Safer Choice Distributor. As part of ODP’s stewardship, the company supports the responsible use of chemicals. This commitment extends to all the products it sells, including private and other brands, the packaging for those products, and the manufacturing processes for those products. The company seeks to phase out chemicals of concern and improve the general management of chemicals. ODP has focused on green procurement and sales by providing products that are energy efficient, use recycled content, and certified by Safer Choice and other third-party ecolabels. ODP recently launched a new line of products that are Safer Choice-certified. These products are available as concentrates and can be filled in a reusable bottle, reducing waste. This supports EPA’s goal of addressing climate change. Safer Choice applauds ODP’s commitment to safer and sustainable products.

EPA’s Safer Choice program is hosting the 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards Ceremony and Partner and Stakeholder Summit in Arlington, Virginia on November 1-3. The public is invited to attend one or both events in person or virtually. Register at https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice/safer-choice-partner-year-awards-ceremony-and-partner-and-stakeholder-summit-2022.

More information on the 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners and summaries of their accomplishments are available at: http://www.epa.gov/saferchoice/safer-choice-partner-year-awards.

For more information on the Safer Choice program, visit https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice.

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EPA Announces 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award Winners

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced 26 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners across 14 states and the District of Columbia, recognizing their achievements in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals.

The Safer Choice program helps consumers and purchasers for facilities, such as schools and office buildings, find products containing chemical ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.

“Cleaning and other products made with safer chemicals – like those certified by the Safer Choice program - help protect workers, families, communities, and the planet,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention Jennie Romer. “This year, we’re pleased to recognize a variety of organizations for their support of safer chemistry and sustainability, including organizations that have worked to make these products more affordable and accessible to all, advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity and environmental justice.”

This year’s awardees represent a wide variety of organizations, including small- and medium-sized businesses, women-owned companies, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations. This year’s winners have all shown a commitment to preventing pollution by reducing, eliminating, or stopping pollution at its source prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal.

Applicants for this year’s awards were encouraged to show how their work advances environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water, or improves drinking water quality. Many of the organizations being recognized today are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the climate crisis. For example, several winners offer products with concentrated formulas which reduces water consumption and plastic use. This practice also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of product that must be transported.

Additionally, many awardees increased access to products with safer chemical ingredients in underserved and overburdened communities. For example, one nonprofit winner conducted targeted outreach in both English and Spanish to promote safer cleaning techniques and products, including Safer Choice-certified products, in food trucks. Many of these businesses are owned and operated by immigrant entrepreneurs. Another winner made its Safer Choice-certified product line more accessible to lower income shoppers by offering affordable prices and making these products available at retailers that often serve low-income communities.

In early 2023, EPA will build on this work by announcing a grant opportunity for projects that can increase supply and demand for safer, environmentally preferable products such as those certified by the Safer Choice program or identified by EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program.

A list of the 2022 Partner of the Year award winners can be found below. Learn more about the 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners and summaries of their accomplishments.

List of Winners

American Cleaning Institute, District of Columbia

The Ashkin Group, LLC, Channel Islands Harbor, Calif.

Bona US, Englewood, Colo.

Case Medical, Bloomfield, N.J.

Church & Dwight Co., Inc., Ewing, N.J.

Clean Safety & Health in Food Trucks (CleanSHiFT) Team, Seattle, Wash.

The Clorox Company, Oakland, Calif.

Colgate-Palmolive, New York, N.Y.

Design for the Environment Logo Redesign Coalition: Environmental Defense Fund, The Natural Resources Defense Council, The Clorox Company, The Procter & Gamble Company, and Reckitt

Dirty Labs Inc., Portland, Ore.

ECOS, Cypress, Calif.

Grove Collaborative, San Francisco, Calif.

The Hazardous Waste Management Program, Seattle, Wash.

Holloway House, Inc., Fortville, Ind.

The Home Depot, Atlanta, Ga.

Household & Commercial Products Association, District of Columbia

Jelmar, LLC, Skokie, Ill.

Lemi Shine, Austin, Texas

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, San Francisco, Calif.

Mother Africa, Kent, Wash.

Novozymes North America, Raleigh, N.C.

The ODP Corporation, Boca Raton, Fla.

The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

PurposeBuilt Brands, Gurnee, Ill.

Sensitive Home, Greenbrae, Calif.

Solutex, Sterling, Va.

EPA and Senator Chuck Schumer Highlight the Transition to Clean School Buses After Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investment for New York City Children

EPA Air - Mon, 10/31/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK – Tomorrow, EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and other state and local leaders will celebrate New York City School District recipients of EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program. With nearly $18,500,000, 51 new electric school buses will shuttle New York City children to and from school.

Who:

  • Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia
  • Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer
  • State and local leaders

What:

Celebration of New York City School Districts Clean School Bus Rebate award. Photo opportunity with yellow electric school bus and press conference to follow.

When:

Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 11:15 am.

Media should be set by 11:00 am, with press conference to follow at 11:15 am.

Where:

New York City Hall

City Hall Park

New York, NY 10007

(Map)

Credentialed press who would like to attend should RSVP to Stephen McBay at McBay.Stephen@epa.gov.

Reporters are encouraged to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the press conference. TV crews and cameras will be responsible for their own technical and sound requirements.

Consistent with CDC guidance, individuals are encouraged to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines at this event.

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces More than $13 Million from EPA's Clean School Bus Program for 13 Maine School Districts

EPA Air - Mon, 10/31/2022 - 19:00

WELLS, MAINE (October 31, 2022) — Flanked by local officials, parents and school children, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England Regional Administrator David Cash announced the Biden-Harris Administration's Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of EPA's Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, including $13,340,000 from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 13 school districts in Maine, including a significant investment for the community of Wells.

The grants in Maine will help school districts purchase 34 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. The community of Wells will receive $4,345,000 to assist purchasing 11 clean, zero-emission school buses.

EPA's investment in zero-emission school buses highlights how they 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 Maine 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 Maine:

Bar Harbor, Mt Desert CSD, one school bus, $395,000
Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor Public Schools, one school bus, $395,000
Blue Hill, Castine Public Schools, one school bus, $395,000
Calais, Pleasant Point, three school buses, $1,095,000
Baileyville, Waite Public Schools, one school bus, $395,000
Bingham, RSU 83/MSAD 13, one school bus, $395,000
Searsport, RSU 20, two school buses, $790,000
Baileyville, East Range CSD, one school bus, $395,000
Dayton Public Schools, four school buses, $1,580,000
Waterboro RSU 57/MSAD 57, two school buses, $790,000
Wells-Ogunquit CSD, 11 school buses, $4,345,000
Somerville, RSU 12, two school buses, $790,000
Winthrop Public Schools, four school buses, $1,580,000

"From Baileyville to Wells, these 34 electric buses funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help towns cut costs, reduce emissions, and protect the health of their students," said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden." This is a significant investment in the future of our state and our students that demonstrates the immediate positive impacts of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law across Maine."

"What a tremendous opportunity this is for our district and communities. Anytime we can reduce dependence on fossil fuels, GHG emissions, and pollution into the environment, it's a win for our children and community," said James Daly, Superintendent of Schools for the Town of Wells.

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 Unveils Historic National Lead Strategy in Omaha, Nebraska

EPA Air - Fri, 10/28/2022 - 19:00
OLEM Deputy Assistant Administrator Carlton Waterhouse (right of check) and EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Ed Chu (far left) present the Douglas County Health Department with a ceremonial check for $12.7 million. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)

LENEXA, KAN. (OCT. 28, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its historic National Lead Strategy before a cooperative agreement renewal ceremony with the Douglas County Health Department today in Omaha, Nebraska.

Omaha was once home to a large lead smelter and lead battery recycling plant that are estimated to have released over 400 million pounds (200,000 tons) of lead particles into the environment, with much of that ending up in residential areas.

The National Lead Strategy reflects the Agency’s commitment to protecting children from harmful exposures to lead, while reducing disproportionate impacts of lead exposure on high-risk communities. EPA will continue to work to protect people from lead through the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean lead-contaminated soil at Superfund sites and replace drinking water lead pipes and service lines.

“The release of EPA’s National Lead Strategy’s during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is more than a symbolic gesture. It is a reflection of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to substantially reducing childhood lead exposure,” said EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) Deputy Assistant Administrator Carlton Waterhouse. “With this strategy, we seek to not only reduce lead exposure in children, but also to eliminate the historic racial and socioeconomic disparities in blood lead levels and promote environmental justice with actions that will improve the lives of our nation’s residents that live in disproportionally impacted communities.”

               Map of the Omaha Lead Superfund Site

Omaha was chosen as the location to announce EPA’s National Lead Strategy as historic smelting operations there resulted in the largest residential lead Superfund site in the United States.

Following the announcement of the National Lead Strategy, EPA Region 7 held a ceremony to recognize the seven-year, $12.7 million renewal of the Agency’s cooperative agreement with the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD), with $1.8 million awarded annually.

The agreement renewal will provide funding for the county’s free blood lead screening services for children 7 years old and under, as well as pregnant and nursing women, residing within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site. The renewal D will also provide funding for indoor lead dust screening, as well as education and outreach to medical professionals within the site boundary.

“Renewing our cooperative agreement with the Douglas County Health Department is an essential step to ensuring residents within the site boundary continue to have access to free blood lead screening,” said EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Ed Chu. “I encourage parents and caregivers of children to sign up for testing, as children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning.”

"Omaha is home to the country's largest residential lead Superfund site. We are honored to work alongside the EPA to serve those in our community who are impacted by lead contamination,” said Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse. “Lead exposure is a serious and preventable cause of cognitive harm to many children, and this collaborative agreement with our federal partners means that we can build upon the great work that has already been done in our community and reach even more potentially impacted families, giving every child the best start possible to lead happy and healthy lives.”

EPA and the city of Omaha also have a cooperative agreement in place for the cleanup of the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.

Background

The Omaha Lead Superfund Site, consisting of approximately 27 square miles of property within the metro area of Omaha. Soils across a broad swath of the city were contaminated with lead over more than a century, primarily from the operation of a major lead smelter situated along the west bank of the Missouri River, which sent particulate lead aloft from its smokestacks and deposited it on the landscape. Other sources of lead contamination at the site included a former paint manufacturer, former lead battery plant, and the decay of lead-based paint from homes and other structures.

EPA and the city of Omaha have completed residential soil sampling at over 40,000 properties and residential soil remediation at over 13,000 properties within the site. Today, only 165 residential properties remain to be sampled and 594 properties still need soil remediation.

  • Read the Lead Strategy.
  • Learn more about the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan.
  • Learn more about Douglas County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
  • Learn more about the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.

# # #

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Colorado to receive $411,440 through EPA’s Pollution Prevention Grant program

EPA Air - Fri, 10/28/2022 - 19:00

DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) with $411,440 in Pollution Prevention (P2) grants to support state programs as they work with businesses to prevent or reduce pollution and reduce costs. CDPHE is one of thirty-two (32) recipients of $9 million in P2 grants announced by the EPA earlier this month.

“EPA’s support of Colorado’s exemplary Pollution Prevention partnerships continue to help businesses develop and implement strategies to reduce toxic pollution, waste production, water and energy use, and the use of raw materials, while also lowering business costs” said EPA Region 8’s Acting Director of Land Chemicals and Redevelopment Division, Nancy Morlock.  “This funding will also help the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment develop and share best practices through several different pathways focusing efforts on environmental justice concerns in underserved communities.” 

CDPHE’s P2 grant will be used to:

  • Identify, develop, document, and share P2 best practices through the Colorado Green Business Network (CGBN) technical assistance and recognition program. Through this program, businesses throughout the state of Colorado can receive free on‐site and off‐site technical assistance in operational efficiency, as well as recognition to incentivize continual improvement in operational sustainability.
  • Support community based P2 efforts amongst state and local technical assistance providers (TAPs), in addition to providing resources to enable the foundation of new TAPs across the state. The CGBN will focus efforts throughout its activities on environmental justice (EJ) concerns in underserved communities and on climate change impacts and GHG emissions reductions. Click here to learn more about CGBN.
  • Support five P2 internship projects for Colorado State University graduate fellows, focusing on the Food and Beverage Manufacturing and Processing sector.

The grants announced this month are in addition to $12 million in P2 grants that were announced in September and made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic $100 million program investment in EPA’s P2 program.

The P2 grants also deliver on the President’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities. EPA anticipates the majority of grants will successfully direct at least 40% of their environmental and human health benefits onto disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

The United States produces billions of pounds of pollution each year and spends billions of dollars per year controlling this pollution. Preventing pollution at the source, also known as P2 or source reduction, rather than managing waste after it is produced is an important part of advancing a sustainable economic and environmental infrastructure. P2 can lessen exposure to toxic chemicals, conserve natural resources, and reduce financial costs for businesses, particularly costs associated with waste management, disposal and cleanup. These practices are essential for protecting health, improving environmental conditions in and around disadvantaged communities, and preserving natural resources like wetlands, groundwater sources, and other critical ecosystems.

A full list of the entities selected to receive funding can be found here.

Read more about P2 and the P2 Grant Programs.

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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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.

###

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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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

EPA Air - 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.

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