Urge Congress to Prioritize Clean and Healthy Buses for our Children

Chispa LCV Statement on EPA’s Clean School Bus Program Announcement

Pita Juarez I pjuarez@lcv.org | (602) 413-4421

Washington, D.C. – Today, in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s opening of its historic, billion-dollar Clean School Bus Program to help school districts replace polluting buses with zero-emission, electric school buses, Chispa National, Chispa state partners, and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released the following statements:

“Chispa’s members have been fighting for a clean ride for kids for years. EPA’s initial efforts are a historic investment in electric school buses and we are excited to welcome school districts to begin applying for funding now. As communities of color are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, we will continue to push for race and air pollution level indicators to be part of the criteria to ensure that low-income communities of color who most need cleaner air quality get the benefits first. We look forward to working with the EPA in real-time to center equity, prioritize electric school buses, and ensure that this initial round of transformational funding will reach the communities this program is intended to help,” said Johana Vicente, Senior National Director of Chispa National.

“Communities of color and people living in poverty are disproportionately breathing this dirty air and consequently suffering from health impacts. Phoenix is one of the most polluted cities in the country, ranked 8th for annual particle pollution and 11th for 24-hour ‘short-term’ particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s 2022 State of the Air report. Additionally, Phoenix is ranked 5th most polluted by ozone. Our children, especially in communities of color, need urgent investments to electrify our school bus fleets and close these disparities. While we maintain that race is an important indicator in outcomes for historically excluded communities, we look forward to working with the EPA to ensure school districts serving predominantly children of color across Arizona are prioritized for funding,” said David Portugal, Federal Organizer for Chispa Arizona.

“We welcome the opportunity provided by the EPA for our most vulnerable communities impacted by these oppressive systems to apply for funding to replace polluting school buses. Twice a day, more than 60,000 diesel-fueled buses transport Florida’s 2.7 million public school students in the Sunshine State. We will closely follow the implementation of this program and ensure that our communities are prioritized, served, and protected. We continue to push for an equitable transition of the nation’s school bus fleet and for climate justice through pollution-free solutions for propane and other fossil fuels harming our families,” said Maria Revelles, Program Director for Chispa Florida.

“We applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to advance clean electric school buses. Parents want their kids to have healthy air to breathe, and unfortunately, for many parents in communities of color living near roadways or polluting industries, that fundamental goal is out of reach. Zero-tailpipe-emission electric school buses can make parents’ goal of clean air for their kids much more attainable. We commend the tireless leadership of our Chispa colleagues to advocate for clean rides for children, and will continue to work together to push Congress and the administration to free up more federal funding for electric school buses and direct funds to those school districts whose families have historically faced the worst air quality and need the most support to transition to zero-tailpipe-emission school buses,” said Darien Davis, Government Affairs Climate and Clean Energy Advocate for LCV.

The Biden-Harris administration will host an event at Meridian High School in Falls Church today to announce the program where representatives from Chispa and LCV will attend. See the announcement HERE.

School districts can apply now to receive a rebate — delivered to the manufacturer or dealer before the district pays — that will cover the full cost or price differential of a new electric school bus, with a limit of 25 new school buses per district. From $13,000 to $20,000 in additional funding will also be awarded for school districts to purchase electric school bus charging stations. To be entered into the Clean School Bus Program rebate lottery, school districts must have active System for Award Management (sam.gov) and login.gov accounts for their entities and fill out a one-page online application found on the EPA website. 


About the Clean School Bus Program:

The Clean School Bus Program was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in 2021. As a member of the Alliance for Electric School Buses, a national coalition of not-for-profit organizations committed to an equitable electrification of the nation’s school bus fleet, Chispa has advocated for zero-emission, electric school buses since 2017. 

About Chispa:

Chispa is a program of the League of Conservation Voters that builds the power of Latinx communities to fight for climate justice and our democracy. Visit us at https://chispalcv.org for more information.

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