The Fayette County Board of Education and Fayette County Schools were recognized today by the state Department of Environmental Protection for their efforts to maintain a healthy environment for their students.
During a ceremony at New River Elementary School in Oak Hill, officials from the DEP’s Division of Air Quality presented the Fayette County Board with a check for $189,436 to help fund the purchase of four new school buses. The buses meet the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission standards and allowed the Board to retire four older, less-efficient buses ahead of their normal attrition cycle.
The DEP allotted funding to Fayette County through the EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). DERA is part of the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign, which supports projects aimed at reducing diesel exhaust. Fayette County provided matching funds for the project.
School buses have long life spans and contribute to air pollution in and around schools. Once retired from fleets, the buses often are sold for further use and continue emitting exhaust. As a requirement of DERA, the four buses Fayette County retired had to be destroyed.
“We wanted to recognize the voluntary efforts of the schools to go above and beyond to improve air quality and create an even healthier learning environment for their students,” said the DAQ’s Renu Chakrabarty, who was on hand at today’s ceremony to present the check. “We know that schools are very tuned-in to providing a healthy learning environment for students, so this project was a natural fit between our agencies.”
To make the project a reality, the DAQ worked closely with Gary Hough, Transportation director for Fayette County Schools and Leon Shrewsberry, Shop foreman for Fayette County Schools. County Superintendent Dwight Dials also supported the school system’s involvement in the project.
In the last fiscal year, buses in Fayette County traveled 1.3 million miles and used 188,000 gallons of fuel.