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MT Dept. of Environmental Quality announces 13 Clean School Bus Replacement grants

First Student gives Billings parents a look at bus sanitation ahead of school start
Posted at 2:18 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 16:19:01-04

MONTANA — The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has awarded 13 clean school bus replacement grants. The grants will help school districts replace older diesel school buses with newer diesel models to help reduce air pollution.

DEQ says in a press release that older diesel buses release nitrogen oxides which can lead to asthma and respiratory illnesses, especially in children and elderly who are known to be at increased risk. DEQ’s Clean School Bus Replacement program aims to reduce kids’ exposure to harmful diesel exhaust from old diesel buses across the state.

“Montana is a rural state, and many parents depend on safe, reliable buses to get their children to and from their schools,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. “These DEQ grants are a great way for these five school districts to ensure quality transportation for students in a cost-effective manner.”

The grants awarded by DEQ are funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). The 2021 grants were awarded to school districts in Billings, Hamilton, Kalispell, Vaughn and Grass Range.

“DEQ is proud to continue supporting Montana schools by helping them purchase cleaner buses that reduce children’s exposure to harmful nitrogen oxide emissions. These new buses not only reduce pollution but are more efficient to operate, saving school districts money,” said DEQ Energy Bureau Chief Dan Lloyd.

The announcement also celebrated National Air Quality Awareness Week, May 3rd-7th, which raises awareness of air quality issues such as impacts from wildfire smoke. Air quality information is available for sites across Montana on DEQ’s Today’s Air page at: https://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/.