Less-Polluting School Buses, Salton Sea Odor Monitoring on Air Board’s Agenda Friday
DIAMOND BAR – The South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board will vote Friday on proposals to replace and upgrade school buses at the Coachella Valley and Desert Sands school districts and to install hydrogen sulfide monitoring stations at the Salton Sea.
AQMD has identified $2.4 million to replace eight old diesel buses at CVUSD with new compressed natural gas buses. If approved by the board Friday, funding will also outfit 49 CVUSD buses and two DSUSD buses with particulate traps to reduce toxic diesel emissions. Diesel soot is the source of about 84 percent of all air pollution cancer risk in the region.
These projects will be funded through the Carl Moyer Program AB 923 Fund, which uses smog abatement and tire fees to provide grants for clean engines, vehicles and equipment.
Separately, on Friday the board will consider the use of $53 million in mitigation funds from the CPV Sentinel power plant. Both districts are recommended to receive grants from the fund to purchase seven CNG replacement buses for CVUSD, five CNG replacement buses for DSUSD, build a CNG fueling station for CVUSD and repair and rebuild an old CNG station at DSUSD.
“I am pleased AQMD found co-funding to further leverage the one-time money the school districts are recommended to receive from the Sentinel fund,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “The combined funding sources create a $4.8 million investment in alternative fuel. Modernizing these fleets shifts the districts from imported petroleum fuels, saving taxpayer money, improving air quality and protecting public health throughout the valley.”
DSUSD operates 85 school buses, 43 of which are CNG and 13 are diesel buses outfitted with the particulate traps. CVUSD operates eight CNG buses that are underutilized because of the 14-mile roundtrip to refuel, due to the district’s current lack of a fueling station.
In response to the noxious odors from the Salton Sea that spread across Southern California in September, AQMD will consider spending nearly $200,000 to establish a hydrogen sulfide monitoring network near the Salton Sea. Two monitoring stations, proposed in Mecca and on a wetlands project on Torres-Martinez tribal land, will evaluate sulfur-containing gases released from the Salton Sea area.
With the receding Salton Sea creating the potential for more odor events and enhanced particulate matter emissions, continuous monitoring will provide necessary data to support and monitor stabilization efforts at the sea.
Friday’s AQMD agenda is posted online at http://www.aqmd.gov/.