A Phoenix school idstrict is partnering with several groups to roll out electric buses for transportation.
The Isaac School District along with EDF Action, Moms Clean Air Force, Chispa Arizona, Sierra Club and Defend Our Future announced last week the district was using federal funding to convert its fleet from diesel to electric.
The move, the groups said, would help prevent children from being exposed to diesel-fumes that have been linked to conditions caused by poor air quality including asthma.
"Every single student in our school district and across our state has the right to clean air. But right now, Maricopa County’s air quality is failing our students. This pollution is dangerous for their health – resulting in missed school days and increased asthma attacks – and right now dirty diesel buses are exacerbating the air pollution problem,” said Superintendent Dr. Mario Ventura.
The district recently received $2.37 million in funding to help accelerate the transition to clean, zero-emission school buses and at an event lat week there was a clean school bus to showcase this positive transition for the school district that speaks to a cleaner, healthier future for our children.
This event comes as the Environmental Protection Agency has opened up the second round of funding for clean school buses. This is part of President Biden’s clean energy plan, which created a new Clean School Bus Program that set aside $5 billion during the next five years for electric school buses.
Already over 90% of school districts nationwide have already requested clean electric buses as they are better for the environment and more economical than propane or natural gas-fueled buses.
“President Biden’s clean energy plan is making historic investments in our community and today we saw this with Isaac School District when they showcased for their community and beyond their historic investment in clean school buses,” said Anabel Maldonado, EDF Action Southwest Director of Political Programs. “I grew up in this community. I grew up with asthma causing me to miss so many school days so I know first hand why transitioning to clean, zero-emission school buses is essential in order to protect the health of our children, our families and our community’s long term well-being.”
Those at the event spoke of their concerns regarding air quality and children.
“Clean air is essential. But unfortunately far too many people and students in my district breathe in toxic air every day. This is harmful to our livelihoods and health, especially the health of our young children.” said Arizona Sen. Flavio Bravo. “Air pollution spews into our air from diesel buses, cars and trucks, and this exhaust knows no bounds, blowing every which direction. That’s why I’m thrilled that our community is investing in clean electric vehicle school buses. Isaac School District is leading the way, helping to protect our students’ health while reducing our emissions and helping to tackle the climate crisis head on.”
Chispa Arizona member Mayra Hernandez said she was pleased to see the move as a parent of a child with asthma.
“It is urgent to make changes so that students who use school buses are free from diesel pollution,” she said. “My son who struggled with asthma growing up and had to ride the school bus every day missed school periodically due to his respiratory issues. We can do better for the new generations and I urge school districts to apply for funding to get electric buses for their schools.”
“The dangers of dirty diesel vehicles are well known. Diesel pollution causes cancer. It triggers asthma attacks. It damages the lungs and the heart. It cuts lives short. It can seep inside the bus cabin from the tailpipe and get trapped inside the bus. This is bad for the children and bad for the bus drivers. Diesel buses have no business being in the places where our children live, learn, and play. On behalf of Moms Clean Air Force and the more than 1.5 million parents and caregivers we represent, we heartily congratulate Isaac School District on their leadership in the transition to ‘Clean School Buses’ and hope that every district in Arizona will make their school bus purchases electric school buses. ‘Let’s let our kids breathe clean air,’” said Mom’s Clean Air Force Arizona Organizer Hazel Chandler.