NYPA 75th Anniversary logo

New York Power Auhority logo




National Study Gives Good Marks to New York's Clean School Bus Programs

Brian Warner

June 12, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The Empire State is among the top 16 states making significant progress toward reducing harmful tailpipe emissions from school buses. A national report from the independent Union of Concerned Scientists, “School Bus Pollution Report Card 2006: Grading the States,” rated New York State’s efforts “Above Average,” noting that, “New York has an active program to retrofit buses with pollution controls and use cleaner fuels.”

The findings are based in part on the work accomplished by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) through its agreements with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to outfit city school buses with emission reduction devices, while also introducing the use of cleaner burning diesel fuel. The report also noted that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) funds clean school bus projects throughout the state and New York City.

“Our work with the New York City Department of Education, to implement and manage a clean school bus program, has significantly improved air-quality for New York City school children.  We agreed to a strategy consistent with Governor Pataki’s view that government has the responsibility to lead by example,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA’s president and chief executive officer. “These results will go a long way towards the quality-of-life improvements that Governor Pataki envisions for all New Yorkers”

“NYSERDA is proud that the Union of Concerned Scientists has recognized the achievements that we are making to address the health effects associated with diesel emissions from school buses," said Peter R. Smith., NYSERDA’s president and chief executive officer. "Our Clean Air School Bus Program, using funds from Governor Pataki’s 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act, has provided $5 million to 74 school districts throughout the state, including New York City, to retrofit more than 2,200 buses.”

Smith added, “The technology NYSERDA is funding will decreases air pollutants by as much as 50 percent and emission of particulate matter by as much as 90 percent.  With initiatives such as ours and NYPA’s, New York State is investing in ways to improve our children’s health, and is looking toward a more environmentally sound future"

Through the joint effort with NYCDOE, NYPA funded the installation of emission reduction equipment on 1,426 buses, and the use of cleaner burning fuel for 2,800 buses.

“The NYPA program to introduce ultra low sulfur diesel fuel and install the catalysts has been effective in reducing levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides and hydrocarbons,” said Martin Oestreicher, chief executive of school support services for the Department of Education. “The NYPA program has proven these technologies work. We’re moving ahead to clean the air in and around the balance of the city’s large school bus fleet.”

The program’s installation of emission control devices, as well as the introduction of cleaner burning ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, eliminated nearly 18,000 pounds of particulate matter, or soot, from the atmosphere.

NYPA contracted with Engine Control Systems to provide diesel oxidation catalysts, a device certified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce tailpipe emissions by up to 40 percent, when used in conjunction with clean burning ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.  The devices were installed on buses owned by the independent fleet operators participating in the program. Installation efforts begun in early 2005 were completed in May 2006 on 1,426 full sized buses.

Under terms of a 2003 clean fuel agreement with the NYCDOE, NYPA paid the cost differential to purchase more than 12 million gallons of cleaner burning fuel for buses provided by the independent fleet owners – helping to fuel some 2,800 buses.  Ultra-low sulfur diesel lowers harmful emissions by 10 percent.  Federal air quality mandates requiring the use of cleaner burning diesel took effect on June 1, 2006.

Of the 1,426 school buses outfitted with emission controls by the program, 524 are used primarily in Brooklyn; 491 in the Bronx; 369 in Queens and 42 on Staten Island.

Emission control devices and clean fuel were supplied under terms of separate installation agreements with the major providers of student transportation services in New York City: Amboy Bus Company, Jofaz Transportation, Consolidated Bus Transit Inc., Logan Bus Company and Pioneer Transportation Corporation.

NYPA’s Clean School Bus program is just one of several initiatives to help improve air quality for the city’s children.  As part of Governor Pataki’s Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act programs, NYPA administered the Clean Air for Schools program that replaced polluting coal-fired boilers with clean oil and gas furnaces at 73 public schools in New York City and Buffalo and on Long Island. NYPA also replaced coal-burning furnaces at 12 other public schools in a separate pilot program.

NYPA's Clean School Bus Program was part of its voluntary initiative to offset emissions from the installation of small, clean power plants at six sites in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

Return to Press Center