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Action Alert – April 2001:
Diesel School Buses And Children's Health

What Are The Health Of Effects Of Children Riding In Diesel School Buses?

FACT #1: The California Air Resources Board (CARB) classifies diesel exhaust as a human carcinogen.

FACT #2: Studies by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) find diesel exhaust to be responsible for up to 70% of the cancer risk from air pollution.

FACT #3: Children riding in diesel school buses breathe at least 2 to 3 times the concentration of diesel exhaust that is outdoors. Diesel exhaust is also a known asthma trigger - asthma is responsible for 10 million lost days of school every year in the U.S.


AQMD is the governing body for clean air in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Orange County and San Bernardino County. AQMD is currently considering a rule that will provide children with the cleanest available bus technology (Rule 1195). This rule requires school districts to buy only clean alternative fuel buses when replacing any existing bus in its fleet. However, the diesel industry has been trying scare school districts into believing that AQMD is trying to take away school rights to decide what is best for children. In addition, the diesel industry is also making claims that its new low-sulfur diesel burns as clean as natural gas. They have gone as far in misleading the public as to call low-sulfur diesel by such names as "green" diesel or "clean" diesel, neither of which is true because diesel exhaust remains carcinogenic.


The AQMD will consider adopting Rule 1195 on April 20, 2001. E-mail us your concerns about diesel school buses. IMPORTANT: Please include your full name, the city where you reside and your phone number (this is proof to AQMD that it is authentic).

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Action Alert – September 11, 2000:
Dump Dirty School Buses - Protect Our Children

The Issue:

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which regulates the air quality for Los Angeles County, Riverside, Orange County, and Ventura County, is considering a rule this November that will require school buses to clean up their act.

The Facts:
  • Diesel exhaust is responsible for over 70% of our cancer risk due to air toxics.

  • The health effects of diesel exhaust include nausea, headaches, increased risk of asthma attacks, lung cancer, and premature death.

  • Children are at particular risk from diesel exhaust, due to their smaller body size and faster breathing rate. Also, children are exposed to diesel exhaust every day from their school buses.

  • School buses are some of the oldest, most polluting vehicles on the road today - many school buses are over 20 years old.
What's at Stake:
  • Environmental and health organizations are pushing for a rule that requires school districts to purchase cleaner, alternative-fuel buses for new purchases.

  • Oil companies, engine manufacturers, and school bus companies are arguing against the rule, saying that schools would have to choose between "books and buses."

  • Oil companies and engine manufacturers also argue that newer "green diesel" buses should be allowed for new purchases, instead of just alternative-fuel vehicles. However, "green diesel" is not yet certified by the California Air Resources Board. Alternative-fuel buses are available and on the market now.

  • Significant funding is available to subsidize purchases of new, clean buses - Governor Davis has set aside $50 million in the 2000-20001 to finance purchases of cleaner school buses throughout the state.

What You Can Do:

View and print out the sample letter to AQMD, sign and mail today! Feel free to include your own reasons for wanting to protect children from the harmful effects of diesel exhaust.

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Action Alert – June 6, 2000:
Dump Dirty Diesel! Call for Volunteers

The EPA has issued a new rule for public comment regarding diesel trucks. In shorthand, this rule would require the oil industry to develop and market a low-sulfur diesel fuel by 2007. A low-sulfur diesel fuel would then make it possible to use after-treatments such as particle traps and NOx absorbers to cut down on particulate matter in diesel exhaust to such an extent that diesel would become as "clean" as compressed natural gas. No more gigantic black clouds from trucks or buses!

This is the most sweeping clean air rule to be proposed by the EPA since removing lead from gasoline. Low-sulfur diesel fuel is already available in Europe, so the technology does exist. The EPA estimates it will add approximately 3 to 4 cents a gallon in cost to diesel fuel.

The EPA is holding public hearings in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Denver. The Los Angeles hearings are scheduled for June 27th at the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Diamond Bar.

Volunteers are urgently needed for a range of activities -- attend editorial board meetings, give testimony at the hearing, sign letters to the editors, etc. Please let me know if you are interested and/or need more information. We'd like to get as many people at the hearing as possible.

Contact Andrea Van Hook at (323) 935 – 5864, ext. 228 or
e-mail to .

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Action Alert – May 25, 2000:
VICTORY! – MTA Votes to Dump Diesel

Today the MTA Board voted unanimously to not buy diesel buses, but instead to buy 370 natural gas buses! The motion was introduced by Chair Yvonne Braithwaite Burke. Further, the MTA Board voted to set aside $2 million dollars for the Fuel Cell Consortium, a research organization for fuel cell technology. Also, Councilman Bernson introduced a motion to retrofit all existing diesel buses with diesel traps (to trap particulate matter) and convert the buses to accept low-sulfur diesel fuel.

If you feel like writing a letter congratulating the MTA Board on their action, contact information is below. Thank you to everyone who took the time to call, write, or fax MTA Board members. It worked!

Contact information is as follows:

Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Chair MTA Board
Phone: (213) 974-2222
Fax: (213) 680-3283

Mayor Richard Riordan
Phone: (213) 847-2489
Fax: (213) 485-1286

Julian Burke, CEO MTA
Phone: (213) 922-7403
Fax: (213) 922-7447

Supervisor Michael Antonovich
Phone: (213) 974-5555
Fax: (213) 974-1010

Councilman Hal Bernson
Phone: (213) 485-3343
Fax: (213) 473-6925

James Cragin
Phone: (310) 217-9507
Fax: (310) 217-9694

Supervisor Don Knabe
Phone: (213) 974-4444
Fax: (213) 626-6941

John Fasana
Phone: (626) 357-7931
Fax: (818) 358-0018

Jose D. Legaspi
Phone: (213) 922-2000
Fax: (213) 922-4594

Supervisor Gloria Molina
Phone: (213) 974-4111
Fax: (213) 613-1739

Councilwoman Jenny Oropeza
Phone: (562) 570-6919
Fax: (562) 570-6590

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky
Phone: (213) 974-3333
Fax: (213) 625-7360

Frank Roberts
Fax: (213) 922-4594

Jaime de la Vega
Phone: (213) 847-3699
Fax: (213) 847-3817

Thank you for your help!

updated 6-1-01

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