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EPA Rebate

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 2 visited the district Tuesday at its Transportation Department headquarters. The visit was in celebration of Children's Health Month and Toms River Regional Schools' participation in the federal organization's Clean Diesel Rebate Program, which provides funding to replace old diesel buses with new, less toxic vehicles. Here, EPA reps stand with district administrators and transportation personnel after the EPA conducted its "white hanky" test, exhibiting the difference in emissions from an old diesel bus (far right) with newer-model gas (far left) and propane vehicles.

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The following news release was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (October 16, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Toms River Regional School District in Toms River, New Jersey has completed the purchase of ten gasoline- and propane-powered school buses to replace old diesel-powered buses for which they will receive $200,000 in EPA rebate money. Toms River has replaced 29 buses in total using a total of $545,000 over the last three years. EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan was joined by Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent David Healy for the announcement the Toms River’s transportation department, where they discussed the importance of programs like EPA’s diesel emissions reduction program to protect kids’ health. The latest rebate was awarded earlier this year from EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program through the School Bus Rebate Program.

“EPA is partnering with Toms River Regional Schools to scrap the older, dirty buses to ensure that they will not be put back on the road,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are progressively reducing diesel pollution and will soon make that familiar black puff of smoke a relic of the past. Reducing air pollution from diesel engines has enormous benefits for the health of our children and our communities.”

“To be rewarded for doing the right thing-- providing our students safe, clean transportation while reducing our carbon footprint-- with savings we can reinvest into the classroom is a remarkable opportunity, and we are sincerely grateful to the EPA,” said Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent David Healy. “The Clean Diesel Rebate Program has made our school district a better, safer, healthier place to learn and work.”

EPA standards for new diesel engines can make them more than 90% cleaner than older ones, but many older diesel engines still in operation predate these standards. Over the last seven years, EPA has awarded approximately $39 million in rebates to replace almost 2,000 school buses. Bus replacements funded through the rebate program reduce emissions and exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides for children at schools, bus stops, and on the buses themselves.

School buses travel over four billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

EPA offers funding, as appropriated annually by Congress, for projects that reduce emissions from existing diesel engines. EPA recently announced the availability of approximately $10 million in rebates to public school bus fleet owners nationwide. EPA will accept applications until Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. This is the seventh rebate program to fund cleaner school buses offered under DERA appropriations. Nearly 30,000 buses across the country have already been made cleaner because of DERA funding.

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