Harlem’s WE ACT Responds To Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Announcement

May 20, 2022

Today, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched its 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate Program.

School districts from across the nation can apply now through its online application portal for funding to replace existing dirty, fossil fuel school buses with zero-tailpipe-emission, all-electric models.

Under the bipartisan infrastructure law, $5 billion was allocated over 5 years to help schools, especially in prioritized school districts of High-Need, Rural, and Tribal areas transition to clean school buses, protecting vulnerable children and overburdened communities from the harmful air pollution and associated health burdens.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice policy experts, Anastasia Gordon, Energy, and Transportation Policy Manager, and Lonnie “LJ” Portis, Environmental Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, responded to the announcement:

WE ACT for Environmental Justice has a long history of advocating for transportation policies, practices, and investments that can deliver cleaner air, health improvements, and economic justice in areas burdened by transportation pollution. Our Dirty Diesel Campaign led to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) purchasing and placing cleaner buses on routes serving Northern Manhattan and to the achievement of a 95 percent reduction in tailpipe emissions citywide. Most recently, we successfully advocated for passage of Local Law 120 of 2021, which requires school buses that serve New York City Public Schools to be all-electric by 2035.

The launch of the first iteration of the Clean School Bus Rebate Program is momentous. It is a step in the right direction to addressing past injustices and will protect millions of children in New York by reducing their exposure to climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. Operating diesel school buses is detrimental to all children, and every community these buses travel through. But children of color are exposed to even more of this toxic pollution because buses are usually parked and often idling in their communities, adding to the cumulative impact of what is already significantly worse air quality. We look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that these frontline communities are prioritized.”

WE ACT for Environmental Justice 

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.

WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C.

Visit us at weact.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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