EPA Funds Continue Mississippi Early Replacement School Bus Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program grant of $478,395 to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) State Clean Diesel Program to help reduce diesel emissions in the Magnolia State.

The MDEQ said Tuesday’s announcement will allow the continuation of a rebate program to fund a statewide early replacement of model-year 1996 through 2009 school buses.

During fiscal year 2019, the EPA awarded over $9 million in DERA funding nationwide 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.

The EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating.

“EPA recognizes the importance of cleaning up harmful diesel emissions, and working in partnership with states and school districts to protect our children,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “These grants provide not only environmental and health benefits by eliminating exposure to diesel exhaust, but promote cost-effectiveness as well,” she observed.

Gary Rikard, MDEQ executive director, commented: “MDEQ looks forward to continuing its successful DERA Program using these grant funds from EPA. The opportunity to help school districts with newer, cleaner bus replacements while reaping the benefit of improved air quality for students and the surrounding communities is a positive benefit for our state.”