R.I., Conn. bus companies to pay on EPA settlement
IN A SETTLEMENT over excessive bus idling with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ocean State Transit and STA Connecticut will be responsible for addressing the claims, implementing environmental projects and reducing school children's exposure to diesel pollution.
BOSTON – Ocean State Transit and Connecticut-based STA, both subsidiaries of Student Transportation of America, will address excessive school bus idling, reduce children’s expose to diesel pollution and implement environmental projects under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Under the settlement, the family of bus companies will commit to reducing idling from its school bus fleet of 7,500 buses operating in 16 states, including Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The companies will also pay a $35,000 penalty and perform environmental projects valued at $131,000, according to an EPA release.
In the fall of 2011, the EPA observed school buses idling for extended periods of time in East Greenwich and South Kingstown as well as at STA locations in Connecticut. According to the release, EPA officials saw buses idling for more than 30 minutes, well more than the generally limited idling time of three minutes in Connecticut and five minutes in Rhode Island.
As part of the settlement, the bus companies will implement a national training and management program in order to prevent excessive idling. Through the program, drivers, dispatchers and managers will be trained to comply with state and local anti-idling regulations and to avoid excessive idling. The company will also post anti-idling signs in areas where drivers congregate and notify school districts of anti-idling policies.
According to the EPA, idling school buses consume roughly one-half gallon of fuel per hour. By eliminating the excess idling in its fleet, the STA will annually reduce its fuel use by 135,000 gallons and avoid emitting more than 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide.