Public education provides support to Utah clean air projects

Murrell Martin is the Pupil Transportation Specialist for the Utah State Office of Education.

There are three areas that the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) and local school districts have been proactive in providing significant support of clean air projects in Utah. Here are the details of each of the three projects:

School Bus and the Utah State Board of Education_Public Education Provides Support to Utah Clean Air ProjectsUtah Retrofitting and Replacement of School Buses Project

Working with local school districts, the Utah Division of Air Quality (UDAQ), county and municipal governments, and non-profit organizations, the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) assisted in securing federal grant funding for retrofitting over 1,200 school buses and the replacement of twenty-seven school buses. UDAQ attributed the following significant air quality contributions to the success of the project:

Retrofit Emissions Reductions

  • Particulate Matter 309.82 tons over the life of the fleet
  • Hydrocarbons 854.30 tons over the life of the fleet
  • Carbon Monoxide 4,693.78 tons over the life of the fleet

Replacement Emissions Reductions

  • Nitrogen Oxide 844.86 tons over the life of the fleet
  • Particulate Matter 33.83 tons over the life of the fleet
  • Hydrocarbons 43.55 tons over the life of the fleet
  • Carbon Monoxide 285.06 tons over the life of the fleet

The Utah State Office of Education played a significant role in providing leadership and coordination between the school districts and UDAQ, but recognition for success should be focused on pupil transportation supervisors and bus shop supervisors who directly supported the projects.

School Bus Idling Reduction

Three years ago, in partnership with Utah Clean Cities Coalition, The National Energy Foundation and all Utah School Districts, the Utah State Office of Education put a school bus idling reduction program in place. In the past three years, this program has reduced consumption of over 276,000 gallons of fuel for a combined savings to school districts of over $700,000. Through the program, there has also been a reduction of several tons of harmful particulate matter to benefit Utah’s air quality throughout the state.

The success of the School Bus Idling Reduction program has been used a model for other states and has been presented at three national conference of significant importance during the past year.

The success of the program has been used a model for other states and has been presented at three national conference of significant importance during the past year. The Environmental Protection Agency National Clean Diesel 10 Conference in Washington DC on October 19, 2010, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services Conference in Portland Oregon on November 1, 2010, and the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Stakeholder Summit on June 28, 2011. The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Utah Clean Cities Coalition a $5,000 grant to work with the USOE in providing program resources to all other states.

The Utah State Office of Education played a significant role in providing leadership and coordination in developing and implementing the curriculum, but recognition for the success of the program should be focused on pupil transportation supervisors, bus shop supervisors, certified instructors, and school bus drivers who directly supported the success of the program.

Elementary School Idle-Free Annual Campaign

For the past three years, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway has sent a letter to each of our elementary school principals encouraging them to work with Utah Clean Cities to be a part of Idle-Free Awareness activities during the month of September. Each of the years, Governor Gary R. Herbert joined with Utah mayors in declaring September as Idle Free Awareness Month and encouraged others to join with our school bus drivers and school children in reducing idling where possible. Last year over 300 of our elementary schools participated in working with Utah Clean Cities Coalition to educate students and the public about the benefits of reducing idling. Superintendent Shumway, elementary school principals, schoolteachers, and many of our elementary school children are recognized for the growing success of the annual idle-free awareness program.

Contact Murrell.Martin@schools.utah.gov for more information.

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