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Technology Improves Diesel School Buses

February 18, 2001

Re "Dangerous Exhaust Levels Found Inside School Buses," Feb. 12: The Natural Resources Defense Council's study on the impact of diesel school bus exhaust on children could do more harm than good if it results in the rejection of new, clean diesel technology. It's not news to report that older diesel buses cause harmful emissions. Thanks to enormous advances in engine technology and fuels, new clean diesel buses are essentially as clean, if not cleaner, than those running on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas. The South Coast Clean Air Partnership--a coalition of school districts, transit agencies, the petroleum industry and other businesses--supports the use of both clean diesel and natural gas in bus fleets. Why?

Because clean diesel buses cost far less to purchase and operate than their natural gas counterparts, they are an ideal option for many school districts that want to replace their old dirty buses as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. That is why the California Air Resources Board recently decided that clean diesel should be part of the state's plan to help clean California's air and protect the health of our schoolchildren and allocated millions of dollars for that purpose. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also supports the use of this new technology.

Contrary to state and federal clean air policies, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is currently pursuing a rule which would effectively ban clean diesel school buses, a move which would divert millions of dollars from the classroom and actually delay removing older, dirtier buses from our school fleets.

SCOTT MACDONALD

Communications Director, SCCAP

Santa Monica

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Ever since I came to L.A. 11 years ago, I have been both shocked and puzzled by the sight of the yellow school buses belching clouds of filthy black soot. Only now they're just realizing that there are dangerous exhaust levels inside? Give me a break! What kind of message is this sending to the kids? Why hasn't there been a movement to get these buses off the streets?

MICHAEL HRUSKA

Los Angeles

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