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A recent enforcement case brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) serves as an important reminder for districts to manage their school bus idling processes, signage and training for facility staff and bus drivers (including third party providers).

Generally speaking, school buses are not allowed to “idle” (e.g., stationary with the engine running) more than three minutes. Idling buses are a significant source of air pollution and are increasingly seen as an environmental justice issue, particularly because of their impact on residential communities near bus depots.

Recently, All-Star Transportation LLC, a Connecticut-based school bus operator, settled a case with EPA for allegedly violating Connecticut’s anti-idling regulations. All-Star agreed to pay a $64,833 penalty and implement better anti-idling measures.

EPA is trying to curb the impacts over idling by facilitating a nationwide transition to greener vehicles with its Clean School Bus Program (CSBP), which offers rebates and grants to update school bus fleets. On January 8, 2024, EPA announced its 2023 winners who will receive a combined total of nearly $1 billion in grant funding to support the purchase of 2,700 new “clean” school buses. The EPA awarded the grant to 67 applicants assisting 280 school districts across 36 states. To date, nearly $2 billion in grant money has been awarded under the CSBP.  The next application deadline is January 31, 2024, which is for “rebate” awards (opposed to the grants announced this week).

As the cooler temperatures set in, we recommend a “check up” on District idling practices, training and signage to improve air quality and avoid potential penalties. 

Sources:

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-ensures-hartford-bus-company-reduces-engine-idling

https://www.epa.gov/dera/school-bus-idle-reduction

https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus

https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/awarded-clean-school-bus-program-rebates

https://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/epa-settles-case-with-all-star-transportation-for-alleged-air-quality-violations

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Photo of Matthew Ranelli Matthew Ranelli

Matthew Ranelli’s practice includes environmental, energy and land use law. Matt represents schools, municipalities, developers and other end-users regarding clean energy projects, green building standards, energy conservation and efficiency projects, energy savings performance contracts, electric and natural gas purchasing, and managing energy options.

Photo of Alfredo G. Fernández Alfredo G. Fernández

A former aerospace engineer, Alfredo focuses his practice on regulatory compliance and transactional due diligence with respect to a wide range of federal, state and international environmental, health and safety laws.  Alfredo regularly counsels clients regarding new and existing chemicals under the Toxic…

A former aerospace engineer, Alfredo focuses his practice on regulatory compliance and transactional due diligence with respect to a wide range of federal, state and international environmental, health and safety laws.  Alfredo regularly counsels clients regarding new and existing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), “Superfund” liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), chemical crises under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and workplace safety under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.  Alfredo also has experience with unique investigation and remediation issues associated with emerging contaminants, state “Brownfields” programs and the “Connecticut Transfer Act.”

Alfredo’s complete biography can be found here.

Photo of Scarlett Lara-Alcantara Scarlett Lara-Alcantara

Scarlett Lara-Alcantara is an associate in Shipman’s Real Estate, Environmental, Land Use and Construction practice group. In support of clients across industries, she researches and evaluates a variety of ever-evolving legal issues including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirements, brownfields remediation and development…

Scarlett Lara-Alcantara is an associate in Shipman’s Real Estate, Environmental, Land Use and Construction practice group. In support of clients across industries, she researches and evaluates a variety of ever-evolving legal issues including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirements, brownfields remediation and development, lead disclosure requirements, environmental audits and indoor air quality in schools.

Read Scarlett’s full biography here.