COLUMBIA — The Union County School District will soon be getting some new, more fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly school buses thanks to an award from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In a statement released Thursday, the SC Department of Education announced that the EPA has awarded South Carolina $620,000 to be used to replace 31 school buses with new cleaner models.
“We are pleased to have been awarded this funding which will go to replacing our state’s aging fleet with lower emission and more efficient buses,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) played an integral role in the application process and we appreciate their support as these funds will truly benefit the health and safety of students and communities in our state.”
The press release states that the EPA awarded more than $8.7 million across the United States to replace or retrofit older diesel school buses. It states that the funds are in the form of rebates through the EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. It further states that the new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.
Of the $620,000 awarded by the EPA, $100,000 will be used to replace five buses in the Union County School District.
In response to the announcement of the award, District Director of Personnel Jeff Stribble issued the following press release about the new buses.
“Union County Schools is pleased to be receiving five new buses from the state,” Stribble said. “We will be able to assign these buses to active routes immediately. Once Union County Schools receives these five buses, we will only have two of the old buses remaining on active routes and one of the old buses that we keep as a spare.”
The balance of the award will be used to replace buses in six other school districts. Those districts, the amount of the rebate, and the number of buses to be replaced are:
• Greenville County School District — $100,000 — 5 buses
• Lexington 1 County School District — $60,000 — 3 buses
• Colleton County School District — $100,000 — 5 buses
• Spartanburg 6 County School District — $100,000 — 5 buses
• Newberry County School District — $100,000 — 5 buses
• Berkeley County School District — $60,000 — 3 buses
For additional information on the EPA’s Clean Diesel Rebate Program, please visit https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates.
To learn more about the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program in South Carolina, visit DHEC’s page at www.scdhec.gov/DERA.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.