DEQ to offer funding towards the replacement or upgrade with advanced emission controls of at least 450 diesel school buses in the state
Portland, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is providing funding towards the replacement of at least 450 diesel school buses 2007 or older as part of its plan for spending the approximately $72.9 million it expects from the settlement in the case of the defeat devices on diesel vehicles Volkswagen manufactured from 2009 through 2015.
DEQ's plan places a priority on reducing emissions from legacy diesel school buses, which adversely affect children, a vulnerable state population. Young people are especially susceptible to adverse health effects from diesel emissions because of continuing lung development and higher respiratory rates than adults. Many kinds of school buses have elevated pollution levels inside the bus as well. Several studies have documented the health benefits for students travelling on lower emission school buses including improved lung function, reduced incidence of bronchitis and asthma with resulting decreases in absenteeism.
School districts, selected by a random number distribution, will know from the start whether—and how many—school buses they have are eligible. Oregon has about 2800 diesel-powered school buses on the road with engine model years earlier than 2007, and the 450 addressed through this program is the estimated number of older diesel buses that would still be in the fleet by 2025, the state's target year to eliminate polluting diesel school buses.
Volkswagen has agreed to a settlement of claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the California Air Resources Board and class action attorneys acting on behalf of owners of subject vehicles. The emission control defeat devices used by VW allowed up to 40 percent higher nitrogen oxide emissions during normal driving.
The number of affected, registered VW vehicles in the state determines Oregon's share of the $2.9 billion settlement, which is approximately $72.9 million. While Oregon did not have the largest number of VW diesel cars registered in the state, Oregon had the largest per capita share of VW diesel cars in the country. Over a ten-year period, the funds will support a defined list of projects intended to offset the excess air pollution created by VW's cars.
For more information about DEQ's VW settlement plans, please click here:
Matthew Van Sickle, Public Affairs, DEQ, Portland, 503-229-6044, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Downing, Air Quality, DEQ, Portland, 503-229-6549, email@example.com