St. Louis-based Doe Run Company, a privately held natural resources company specializing in lead mining and metals production, announced it is investing $300,000 for school bus diesel retrofit projects following a 2010 agreement signed with the EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Missouri and finalized in 2011.
Schools specifically located in the Jefferson County area are eligible to apply until this July. School districts that win the Doe Run retrofits grant will then contract independently with maintenance providers or vendors to complete the work on each engine. Doe Run said the upgrades aim to reduce school bus emissions of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds by up to 90 percent. School districts will also be required to share data reporting reductions and progress with Doe Run.
"Providing a great learning environment for students is our number one priority, and these efforts will help us protect that environment for years to come," said Stan Stratton, Dunklin R-V School District superintendent. "Doe Run is an avid supporter of our district, and we look forward to the possibility of working together to improve our fleet. We hope our colleagues in neighboring districts take the company up on these offers as well. It's a win-win for everyone involved."
Doe Run had operated ar sulfuric acid and sintering plant for more than 30 years without the required federal permits despite having complied with a state implementation plan. Additionally, the EPA claimed the company contaminated the air, water and soil. Doe Run was given the choice of building a new acid plant, which it did, and was ordered to pay $3.5 million to Missouri schools.
The $300,000 for school bus retrofits is part of a larger $500,000 investment. The remaining funds will go toward helping schools remove hazardous waste or old chemicals from science labs, photo and art studios and dark rooms as well as train school personnel who supervise these learning environments.
"It is important to Doe Run that we provide enduring benefits to our communities, and these two projects are excellent examples of that commitment at work," said Gary Hughes, general manager of Doe Run's Primary Smelting Division. "This program will help establish a safer and healthier environment for Missouri students, and is one example of our commitment to operating sustainably – balancing social, economic and environmental responsibilities."