Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
May 2004
Giving Kids a Safer Ride to School

School buses may be the safest way for children to get to school, but they emit particle pollution, diesel toxins, carbon monoxide and ozone precursors into the air, affecting everyone's health, especially that of children waiting at bus stops and riding on the buses.

In response to this air quality concern, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) obtained a grant to install emission control devices (retrofits) on approximately 375 diesel school buses in southeastern Wisconsin. The retrofitting will involve the installation of diesel oxidation catalysts, similar to catalytic converters on cars. These low-maintenance devices reduce diesel emissions between 20-50 percent and have little to no impact on fuel consumption or power.

Retrofitting will be targeted at buses in the severe ozone non-attainment counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha. If money remains after this goal is reached, or if more funding is received, buses in the other non-attainment counties of Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan will be targeted for improvement.

The main goal of the school bus retrofit program is to reduce environmental and health impacts from diesel exhaust, but the emission reductions from this voluntary program will also serve as a replacement for the regulatory Clean Fuel Fleet Program.

With your help, this program can be a huge success. The DNR is recruiting sponsors for the program since the grant requires a 20% match. Note DNR officials, "We are seeking financial support from businesses and organizations in the area, community groups, Parent Teacher Associations, and individuals. Two Wisconsin Partners for Clean Air businesses have already made generous donations of $5,000 each! These donations will help greatly, but we have a long way to go."

Each retrofit device costs approximately $1,500-2,500 so a donation of $300-500 provides the 20% match needed to make one bus cleaner. Of course donations in any amount are greatly appreciated by the DNR and will be publicly recognized in various ways. Your organization may help sponsor this program by sending a tax-deductible donation payable to:
WDR Diesel School Bus Retrofit Project to:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
School Bus Project AM/7
101 S. Webster St.
PO Box 7921
Madison WI, 53707-7921

Please contact Jessica Lawent if you would like to participate, have questions or would like free diesel/school bus literature. Jessica Lawent, 414-263-8653, Jessica.Lawent@dnr.state.wi.us.

-- Jessica L. Lawrent

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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