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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2010
CONTACT: Terri Durdaller, DEP ( 850) 245-2112 or Cell (850) 519-2897


Yellow Buses in 10 Panhandle Counties Roll Out Green Retrofits during Environmental Education Week

~DEP Completes $250,000 Grant Project to Improve School Bus Emissions~

TALLAHASSEE – To reduce diesel emissions from school buses, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently completed a $250,000 federal grant project from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant, which provided funding assistance for initiatives within the state’s Clean Diesel Program, was used to retrofit school buses in rural school districts.

“I am pleased we were able to use these funds for such an important cause,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “By reducing diesel emissions and investing in clean energy technology we will ensure a stronger, healthier environment and economy for future generations, while protecting the health of children, one of our most vulnerable citizens to harmful effects of air pollutants.”

As a result of the project, buses were retrofitted with diesel oxidation catalysts, devices designed to reduce harmful pollutants in tailpipe emissions. The devices will reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust and reduce the air pollution from diesel school buses by approximately 50 percent.

The grant allowed 199 buses to be retrofitted in 10 rural school districts in the Florida panhandle region including: Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington. The project involved upgrades to 2003 and older school buses that will remain in the fleet for at least five years.

The goal of the EPA’s national program is to save fuel and lower greenhouse gas and diesel exhaust emissions from the country’s existing fleet of 11 million diesel engines. Additional information on the EPA’s State Clean Diesel Program can be found at: www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/prgstate.htm

DEP’s Division of Air Resource Management is tasked with protecting, conserving and restoring Florida's air, with the primary goal of protecting the health of its residents. Air pollution comes from many sources including factories, power plants, dry cleaners and motor vehicles. The division implements the federal Clean Air Act and appropriate statutes to protect Floridians. The division also monitors the state’s air pollution control programs and coordinates its work with the efforts of other local, state and federal air quality programs. For more information about DEP’s Division of Air Resource Management, visit http://www.floridadep.org/air.

Quote Sheet

“We are proud to join dedicated forces with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in reducing school bus gas emissions,” said Pat Jones, Transportation Supervisor of the Wakulla District School Board. “We are thankful to have had the opportunity to make a small change that could produce such a large difference.”

“Our partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection surpassed our expectations of what we could accomplish together,” said John Hamilton, Director of Transportation for the Jackson District School Board. “The retrofitting of busses is an example of one project that can make an overwhelming difference in the well-being of our environment.”

“We are proud to partner with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to help protect school children from harmful pollutants on their morning ride,” said Willy Pitts, Director of Transportation of the Calhoun District School Board. “Together we can help transform our environment while we travel with our most precious cargo.”

“We are very proud of the turnout of our collaborative efforts with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” said Robert Coursey, Interm Transportation Director of the Franklin District School Board. “The retrofitting of school busses is a small change that will lead to a huge environmental impact.”

“We are proud to have had such a successful turnout in the completion of this project,” said Gil Anderson, Director of Transportation for the Holmes District School Board. “Our efforts, paired with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, have proven to go a long way in environmentalism and public safety.”

“We are very proud of the turnout of our collaborative efforts with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” said Marc McCaskill, Transportation & Facilities Director of the Liberty District School Board. “This small change will produce an overwhelming impact on the health and safety of our environment and citizens.”

“The retrofitting of school busses is a prime example of how one small change can produce an overwhelming environmental impact,” said Tony Wilkerson, Shop Foreman of the Walton District School Board. “We are thankful to have had the opportunity to join forces with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in making a difference.”

“We are very proud to partner with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in the retrofitting of school busses,” said Bill Lee, Transportation Director of the Washington District School Board. “This small change will have a positive impact on public health and environmental safety.

school buses

"I am pleased we were able to use these funds for such an important cause."

Michael W. Sole
DEP Secretary

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Last updated: April 16, 2010

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