Chairman Urges Agency to Follow Congressional Intent, Ensure Broad Participation in Clean School Bus Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan encouraging the agency to ensure the broadest possible participation in the agency’s clean school bus program under the Inflation Reduction Act. To accomplish that goal, Chairman Carper urged the agency to include in the program the private contractors that often purchase, lease, operate and maintain school bus fleets — including those in low income, rural and disadvantaged communities.

“The importance of implementing the [Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle] Program quickly and ambitiously cannot be overstated,” Carper wrote. “Heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.”

“[D]iesel school buses pose a hazard to children, in particular. The air inside of a diesel school bus can be more than five times worse than the ambient air. In addition, school buses often idle outside of schools, waiting for students to load and unload, while pumping emissions into the air right where students, teachers, and parents gather,” Carper continued.

Carper’s letter responds to growing concerns that school bus contractors might be shut out of the program if the agency misinterprets Congress’ intent in creating the program.

Carper continued: “… I encourage you to administer the program in a way that maximizes support for the electrification of school buses — including through the ability of contractors to access funding under the program. Ensuring that these entities can access funding on behalf of their clients will allow EPA to implement a successful program that offers a greater number of students and communities the opportunity to enjoy the advantages of electric school bus fleets.”

The full text of the letter is available here