Leonardo Academy Helps Midwest Schoolchildren Breathe Clean Air Print
Press Release

alt(Madison, Wisconsin, August 13, 2013) – Leonardo Academy was awarded a grant from the US EPA under the Diesel Emissions Reduction National Program and assisted three school-bus companies and one metropolitan transit authority in retrofitting several buses with filters to reduce harmful emissions. Although school buses are one of the safest means of transporting children to and from school, emissions from diesel-powered school buses constitute a serious health risk.

Leonardo Academy is proud to assist in reducing this health hazard to schoolchildren and others who ride buses for the following companies:

  • Kaneland Community School District serves students from preschool through high school in southwestern Kane County, Illinois, at the western edge of the Fox River Valley.  Kaneland is installing diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in three school buses, which will reduce emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide by 60 to 90 percent.
  • Illinois Central School Bus provides student transportation services in Joliet, Illinois and Gary, Indiana. Illinois Central has installed DPFs in combination with verified idle reduction technologies in 10 buses providing service to school districts in Illinois and Indiana.
  • Hortonville Area School District has installed a DPF in combination with idle reduction technology for one of its model year 2005 school buses. The Hortonville Area School District serves all of the Wisconsin communities of Hortonville and Greenville, as well as portions of Center, Dale, Ellington, Grand Chute, Hortonia, and Liberty.
  • Leonardo Academy also utilized grant money to help Kenosha Area Transit (KAT) reduce its commuter bus emissions. KAT is a city-owned public transportation agency that maintains a fleet of 68 buses operating on 10 bus routes throughout Kenosha County, Wisconsin. KAT has an approximate annual ridership of 1.5 million commuters. Situated between Chicago and Milwaukee, Kenosha’s population is disproportionally exposed to the vehicle emissions due to high traffic volume between these much larger metropolitan areas. KAT has incorporated DPFs into five transit buses operating in and around the city of Kenosha.

The greatest impact of diesel emissions are on the approximately 4.5 million who are under 18 years of age and the 1.7 million who are over 65 years of age. The inhalation of diesel emissions can trigger adverse health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion and can worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Within Illinois and Wisconsin, nearly 1 million children ride over 17,000 school buses, vast majorities of which are powered by diesel fuel with high amounts of exhaust emissions. While breathing diesel exhaust has health implications for everyone, children are much more susceptible to this pollution than healthy adults because they breathe more air relative to their body weight and their respiratory systems are still developing. The time that individual students spend on buses varies between 20 minutes and several hours per day. For one child, a half-hour ride to school and a half-hour ride home each day amounts to 180 hours per school year spent on the bus. Children in Illinois and Wisconsin spend 40 million hours on buses each year.

Michael Arny, President of Leonardo Academy, said, “Part of Leonardo Academy’s goal in advocating the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign is to improve air quality for our most vulnerable populations.  Other than family cars, school buses are the form of transportation that children use most often.  By helping school bus companies reduce the emissions from their buses, we are helping our children achieve healthier futures while helping the bus companies thrive.”

About the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program
The Diesel Emissions Reduction National Program (DERA), authorized by Title VII, Subtitle G (Sections 791 to 797) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), enables EPA to offer funding assistance to eligible entities on a competitive basis. In Fiscal Year 2008, the inaugural year of the DERA Program, approximately 60 assistance agreements totaling over $28 million were awarded nationwide through regional competitions.

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law No. 111-05) (Recovery Act), which provided additional funding for DERA.  With this additional funding, EPA has awarded additional DERA grants each year, further eliminating diesel emissions in the Midwest and across the country.  Specific information on these funded projects can be found at: www.epa.gov/otaq/diesel/projects.htm.