EPA Awards New Grant to Retrofit, Replace 24 Oregon School Buses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $5.6 million in support for clean diesel projects throughout the Pacific Northwest, including a nearly half-million dollars for one Oregon school bus program. 

The $480,359 grant announced on Thursday to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality School Bus Retrofit and Replacement Program is designed to cut emissions and improve air quality across the state. The project will be implemented with a cost-share of $2,013,750 from the participating school districts, plus $320,239 in funds from the state of Oregon, for a total project cost of $2,814,348.

The Oregon DEQ will work with qualifying school districts to upgrade or replace a minimum of 24 diesel-powered school buses with newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, officials said. The retrofit and replacement of the older high-emitting diesel-powered school buses of those school districts will support reduced diesel emissions and improved air quality across the state.

The retrofit and replacement of the 24 school buses are estimated to cut annual diesel emissions of:

  • Particulate matter (PM) by 0.22 tons
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 2.82 tons
  • Hydrocarbons (HC) by 0.36 tons
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) by 1.34 tons
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) by 442 tons

This will result in estimated cumulative emission reductions of 1.11 tons of PM, 14.1 tons of NOx, 1.82 tons of HC, 6.72 tons of CO, and 2,210 tons of CO2 over the lifetime of these vehicles.

The DERA program in EPA Region 10 is administered by the EPA’s West Coast Collaborative— a public-private partnership between federal, state, and local government leaders, with the private sector, academia and environmental groups. The group leverages funds to complete projects that reduce emissions from the most polluting diesel sources, plus advance clean air technologies and practices in West Coast states and U.S. territories.

According to the EPA’s 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment, the statewide concentration in Oregon for diesel particulate matter is 0.31 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3), which exceeds the Oregon benchmark of 0.1 ug/m3 for increased risk for cancer from exposure to diesel particulate matter.

In the fiscal year 2019, the EPA awarded over $9 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding for rebates to replace older diesel school buses with newer, cleaner vehicles. The EPA also awarded over $89 million in DERA funding for state, national, and tribal grants to reduce emissions from various diesel emission sources, including school buses, trucks, locomotive, marine engines and other nonroad equipment.


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