Study: Colo. school buses are among worst polluters |

Study: Colo. school buses are among worst polluters

DENVER – A private study said Colorado’s public school buses are among the oldest in the nation and are third-worst for pollution, but state and regional officials disputed the findings.The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report Wednesday saying Colorado school buses produce about three times more pollution and particulate matter per mile than tractor-trailer trucks.The report blamed the pollution on the average age of state’s 6,400 buses: 13 years, compared with the national average of nine years. It also said efforts by Colorado school districts to reduce school-bus pollution last year cut emissions by only 3 percent.Bruce Little, senior transportation consultant for the state Department of Education, said the state’s buses are safe from pollution and wrecks.”In fact, our buses are built to tougher standards for collisions and roll-overs than any other state,” he said.Little said he doubts the study’s figures but said he is concerned.”But we will test any district’s buses for emissions. I encourage anyone who’s worried to call their school district,” he said.Updating the fleet is difficult because the state does not reimburse school districts for buses, he said.School districts in the seven-county Denver area spent $1.4 million in federal grants in 2003-05 to retrofit buses with pollution controls, said Steve McCannon, a manager for the Regional Air Quality Council.”We’re receiving another $1 million this year to install particulate traps and other technology for ultra-low-sulphur diesel (fuel) that becomes available late this year,” he said.”And we’re working with the Department of Public Health to use our program as a model to be expanded statewide. We’re looking for funding right now,” he said.

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