State signs historic bill to protect children from silent threat: ‘Future generations of students can breathe easier’

One state recently passed a historic bill that would make Ms. Frizzle proud.

Angel Smith and Akiko Fujita of Yahoo Finance reported on Oct. 13 that all new school buses in California will need to be zero-emission electric vehicles beginning in 2035, meaning students will be better protected against the harmful effects of pollution.

“I think it’s multifaceted,” GreenPower Motor Company Chairman and CEO Fraser Atkinson told Yahoo Finance. “There’s a lot of advocates that have helped propel the electrification of school buses.”

California is the fifth state to adopt measures aimed at transitioning to electric school buses, joining Maryland, Maine, New York, and Connecticut.

According to the California Air Resources Board, more than 50% of the state’s buses are powered by diesel fuel, a type of dirty energy that releases heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere.

The harmful pollution from diesel not only negatively impacts our environment but also has been linked to poor academic performance, missed class time, and health concerns such as asthma.

Children are particularly vulnerable because they are still growing and breathe faster than adults, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA noted that bus exhaust can even affect the air quality in classrooms, with the silent threat able to enter through open windows, doors, and air intakes.

Zero-emission electric buses, on the other hand, will help protect the future of students, their parents, and the planet and are also more cost-effective to maintain and power over time.

“We thank Governor [Gavin] Newsom for standing with the diverse coalition of parents, educators, health professionals, and industry leaders who understand the far-reaching public benefits of zero-emission school buses,” Ryan Gallentine, a Transportation Policy Director at Advanced Energy United, said in a statement Oct. 8 after Newsom signed the bill.

“This legislation will accelerate California’s progress and ensure future generations of students can breathe easier,” he added.

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