All effective school bus diesel initiatives should:
- Include a Low Emission Vehicle Program, which annually amends
its long-term strategic plan (if necessary) in order to stay on
track with implementation dates to clean up or convert diesel
bus fleets to alternative fuels (see New York AB 409, 2001);
- Require local school districts to provide diesel fuel emissions
information to parents (see Minnesota SF 2737, introduced on 2/7/02
by Senator Pappas);
- Include a policy to limit idling of school buses (see New Hampshire
rule Env-A 1101.05 forbidding idling);
- Require preferential purchase of CNG (compressed natural gas)
or other alternative fuel types for all new bus purchases;
- Retrofit buses manufactured since 1994 with particulate traps
or other emissions control devices and require the use of low-sulfur
diesel fuel for these buses;
- Encourage retirement, when possible, of buses manufactured prior
to 1994, and replacement of these buses with alternative fuel
buses, or other cleaner buses;
- Include collection of scientific data and statistics that measure
local air quality;
- Include consideration of scientific data that demonstrate children’s
disproportionate susceptibility to contaminants in the air, including
their faster respiratory rates, higher levels of physical activity,
smaller body size, and narrower airways; and
- Impose penalties for noncompliance.
State School Bus Diesel Emissions Control Act
(Note: This legislation is based, in part, on Connecticut
bills SB 495 (2002) and HB 5663 (2002) and on the California South
Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule #1195)
Summary: An Act to prohibit the idling
of school buses except in certain situations; require any new school
bus, purchased or leased, on or after January 1, 2005, to be run
on alternative-fuel; require that used or existing diesel school
buses be retrofitted with a control device to reduce hazardous air
pollutants and criteria air pollutant emissions, and powered by
diesel fuel with a sulfur content of no more than 15 parts per million;
and, for other purposes.
The people of the state of <insert your
state here>, represented in the state Legislature, do
enact as follows:
Section 1. Short Title.
This Act shall be known and may be cited as the “State School
Bus Diesel Emissions Control Act.”
Section 2. Findings and Declarations.
The Legislature for the state of <insert
your state here> finds and declares the following:
(A) Motor vehicles have a significant impact on the environment
and public health of the state of <insert
your state here>. Motor vehicles account for more than
half of all air pollutants, almost sixty percent of total carbon
dioxide emissions, and a significant portion of toxic contaminants
in <insert your state here>;
(B) Diesel exhaust, in particular, is likely to cause lung cancer
in humans, chronic and acute bronchitis, asthma attacks, and respiratory
illnesses. Children are particularly at risk. Thousands of students
in <insert your state here> risk
their health breathing exhaust from riding diesel-powered buses
to school every day;
(C) Although stringent standards established by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) for new diesel engine technology will take
effect with the 2007 model-year, a significant majority of diesel-powered
school buses now in use in <insert your
state here> will continue to be used for the next thirteen
or more years; and
(D) It is in the best interests of <insert
your state here> to act now to reduce the harmful effects
of outdated, high-emission diesel school buses.
Section 3. Definitions.
For the purposes of this Act, the terms below are defined as follows:
(A) “Alternative-fueled engine of school bus” means
any engine or school bus that uses compressed or liquefied natural
gas, propane, methanol, electricity, fuel cells, or other advanced
technologies that do not rely on diesel fuel, and has been certified
by a state or federal regulatory agency.
(B) “Approved control device(s)” means an exhaust control
device(s) that is verified or certified by a state or federal regulatory
agency to reduce particulate matter and possibly other precursor
emissions. For the purposes of this rule, a new school bus equipped
with approved control devices means that the engine family has been
certified. A pre-owned school bus equipped with approved control
devices means that the device has been verified or certified. To
be considered fitted with an approved control device(s), all diesel
exhaust from the vehicle must be vented through such a device(s)
that has been fitted at the time of vehicle purchase or fitted by
a certified device installer at the time the device is delivered
to the operator. The vehicle equipped with such a control device
must use diesel fuel with a sulfur content no greater than 15 parts
per million (ppm) by weight.
(C) “Public or private school bus fleet operator” means
a person who owns, leases, or operates school buses in the state.
A person is any public or private entity responsible for administering
and managing school bus transportation services.
(D) “School bus” means any motor bus painted, constructed,
equipped, and registered as hereinafter provided, which is regularly
used for transporting school children to and from school or school
activities whether or not for compensation or under contract to
provide such service.
Section 4. Applicability.
This rule applies to those school bus fleets with 15 or more school
buses, operated by public and private entities. This rule shall
not apply to school bus fleets located outside of the state that
transport passengers, who reside outside of the state, into the
state for purposes of field trips or other student-related events.
Section 5. Purchases of New or Pre-Owned School Buses.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, on or after two years
from the effective date of this Act, additions or replacement of
school buses to an existing fleet, or formation of a new fleet,
shall be by purchase or lease of alternative-fueled buses. Purchases
of existing pre-owned school buses, after two years from the effective
date of this Act, shall be alternative-fueled buses.
Section 6. Retrofits of Existing Fleets.
(A) Beginning no later than one year after the effective date and
ending no later than two years after the effective date, the operator
shall equip 25 percent of the school buses in the existing fleet
with approved control devices. The diesel-powered school bus must
be equipped with an approved control device if the school bus relies
on diesel fuel. Priority for retrofits should be given to any older
buses in the fleet that operate with four-stroke engines (i.e.,
buses manufactured since the 1994 model-year).
(B) Beginning no later than two years after the effective date,
and ending no later than three years after the effective date, the
operator shall equip an additional 25 percent of the school buses
in the existing fleet with approved control devices. The diesel-powered
school bus must be equipped with an approved control device if the
school bus relies on diesel fuel. Priority for retrofits should
be given to any older buses in the fleet that operate with four-stroke
engines (i.e., buses manufactured since the 1994 model-year).
(C) The operator shall continue to equip, at a minimum, 15 percent
of the existing diesel school buses with approved control devices
on a yearly basis until the entire fleet of existing diesel-powered
school buses that are capable of operating with approved control
devices are equipped with such devices.
(D) Beginning no later than one year after the effective date,
the operator shall fuel the entire fleet of diesel buses with only
low-sulfur diesel fuel with a sulfur content of 15 ppm or lower.
Section 7. Exemptions.
(A) Funding for Bus Purchases. If
sufficient grant funding or external sources of funding beyond that
of the school bus fleet operator’s fiscal budget is not available
to substantially offset the differential purchase cost of an alternative-fueled
school bus compared to the cost of a new diesel-powered school bus
equipped with an approved control device, the operator may submit
a “Certificate of Need” to <insert
the appropriate state official or agency for your state>.
If offset funding is confirmed to be unavailable, the operator shall
be permitted to purchase or lease a new diesel-powered school bus
equipped with an approved control device if such bus will be fueled
only with low-sulfur diesel fuel.
(B) Funding for Refueling Stations.
If a public or private school bus fleet operator does not receive
external funding (beyond the school bus fleet operator’s financial
budget) of at least <insert a dollar figure
appropriate for the locality, depending on the local natural gas
pipeline infrastructure> to build a new alternative-fuel
refueling station or to upgrade an existing maintenance facility
to required standards to handle alternative-fueled school buses,
and an alternative-fuel refueling station for alternative-fueled
school buses is not available within five miles of the vehicle storage
or maintenance yards, the school bus fleet operator may submit a
“Certificate of Need to <insert the
appropriate state official or agency for your state>.
If funding is confirmed to be unavailable, the operator shall be
permitted to purchase or lease a diesel-powered school bus equipped
with an approved control device. For the purpose of this provision,
any external funding, other than funds to cover the incremental
cost of the purchase of the alternative-fueled school bus, offered
by a publicly funded incentives program shall be considered to be
available to cover the cost of a new alternative-fuel refueling
(C) Unavailability. Upon demonstration
that an alternative-fueled or gasoline-powered engine/chassis/body
configuration is not commercially available in a specific bus size
or could not be used on a specific fixed bus route, a diesel-powered
school bus equipped with an approved control device may be purchased
in that specific bus size or as needed for the specific fixed bus
(D) Unforeseen Circumstances. If during
the year that school is in session, a public or private school bus
fleet operator needs additional school buses, due to unforeseen
circumstances, to operate during that school year, the operator
may lease the needed quantity of school buses that do not comply
with the provisions of Section 3 for the months necessary, not to
exceed the remaining portion of the school year, if a demonstration
is made that the alternative-fuel school bus cannot be deployed
by the school bus fleet operator within one month from the date
(E) Existing Contracts. Contract agreements
signed prior to the date of adoption of this law for the purchase
or lease of school buses shall not be affected by this legislation.
The operator should consider equipping the diesel-powered school
buses purchased under this provision with approved control devices.
This provision shall not apply to unsigned options to be executed
at a future date under the contract agreement.
Section 8. Idling.
(A) The operator of any school bus shall not operate the engine
of any school bus for more than three consecutive minutes when the
school bus is not in motion except:
(1) When the school bus is forced to remain motionless because
of traffic conditions or mechanical difficulties over which the
operator has no control;
(2) When it is necessary for the operation of safety equipment;
(3) To operate heating or cooling equipment when the outdoor
temperature is below twenty degrees Fahrenheit or above eighty
(4) When it is necessary to maintain a safe temperature for students
with special needs; or
(5) When the school bus is being repaired.
Section 9. Enforcement and Implementation.
(A) The fleet operator shall provide at the request of the <insert
the appropriate state official or agency for your state>
any files and/or records created to comply with this legislation
including fleet-specific information, such as a list of official
Department of Motor Vehicles <or your state’s
equivalent> registrations, principal vehicle location,
and manufacturer, model-year, model, and fuel type of each fleet
vehicle. This provision shall not apply for records that have been
in existence for more than one (1) year.
(B) Any fleet operator seeking an exemption under Section 7 shall
supply proof that their vehicle or fleet is exempted when requested
by the <insert the appropriate state official
or agency for your state>. Any fleet operator seeking
an exemption under those portions of Section 7 that pertain to external
funding availability shall apply for external funding or to external
funding sources, and demonstrate that funding is not available prior
to the purchase or lease of diesel school buses as allowed under
(C) Circumvention of this rule is prohibited, including artificially
creating fleets under common ownership of smaller than 15 vehicles,
without sufficient business justification.
(D) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall,
for a first offense, be deemed to have committed an infraction and,
for each subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than one thousand
dollars nor more than $2,500 per violation. The <insert
the appropriate state official or agency for your state>
is hereby authorized to make all rules necessary for the proper
monitoring, enforcement, and implementation of this Act.
Section 10. Effective Date.
This Act shall take effect immediately upon passage.