Environmental Protection Agency Rolls Out Clean School Bus Rebate Program


Katherine García, katherine.garcia@sierraclub.org

FALLS CHURCH, VA -  Today, at Meridian High School, the Biden-Harris administration will announce the Clean School Bus Program, which offers funding for school districts to move dirty diesel buses off their routes and transition to a cleaner school bus fleet. Currently, 95 percent of the nation’s school buses are diesel. Diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen and can lead to or worsen respiratory illnesses like asthma. 

This program gets funding out the door and more electric school buses on our roads. It is the start of a larger five-year funding program, $500 million of which EPA will distribute this year, with an additional $4.5 billion over the next four years. At least half of the total funding will be dedicated to electric school buses and charging infrastructure. 

The Sierra Club is a founding member of the Alliance for Electric School Buses (AESB), a national network of advocates that have been urging the Biden administration to prioritize school bus electrification so that every child in the US has a clean commute to school. Now that the program has been announced, AESB will focus on ensuring that school districts, particularly those serving low-income communities and students of color, apply for electric school bus funding.

“We appreciate the Biden administration leading this effort to move us beyond diesel school buses and cut air pollution that’s been harming our kids and bus drivers,” said Kate West, director of Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter. “We’re honored to have the announcement in Falls Church, where Sierra Club and our allies will be advocating for our school districts to apply for this funding and invest in an all-electric future for climate and public health.”

“Electrifying our nation’s school buses will deliver massive public health benefits for students who currently rely on diesel-spewing buses to get to and from their schools, as well as the bus drivers that take them,” said Eric Willadsen, Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign. “Too often, young people in our most vulnerable communities are exposed to poor air quality each day, an unjust reality that policies can and must fix. The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program can be a prime example of how we can improve the quality of life for millions across the country while tackling the climate crisis.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.