Diesel Forum Responds To School Bus Campaign By Union of Concerned Scientists

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Diesel Technology Forum

    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- "Modernizing America's school bus
 fleet with clean diesel technology is the best option for both the environment
 and the pocketbook" -- that's the message from Diesel Technology Forum
 Executive Director Allen Schaeffer in response to today's news conference by
 the Union of Concern Scientists.
     "We agree that there are changes that can be made to improve the safety of
 children on school buses and we are strong supporters of upgrading the
 nation's school bus fleet," said Schaeffer.  "Clean diesel technology is the
 most cost-effective way that also provides significant air quality benefits."
     Today's clean diesel engines are more than eight times cleaner than those
 made just a decade ago, and further improvements are coming over the next
 seven years.  For many years, school officials around the nation have
 overwhelmingly chosen diesel technology to meet their transportation needs,
 because the fuel is widely available and easy to handle.  It is efficient,
 reliable and affordable and the safest fuel when a school bus is in an
 accident.
     Recent studies about air quality on diesel school buses have produced
 dramatically different results.  An extensive science based-study by one of
 the nation's largest school districts -- Fairfax County, Virginia -- concluded
 that "breathing the air poses no health risks to our students and staff"; this
 after meticulously analyzing air quality on buses of varying ages and finding
 "no detectable levels of diesel exhaust and no age-related differences in bus
 air quality."  In contrast, a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council
 on four of the oldest school buses in California, built before emissions
 standards took effect, concluded that diesel exposure caused asthma and an
 increased risk of lung cancer in children.  The NRDC study was designed to
 generate headlines rather than sound scientific results.
     "There is an intuition that only natural gas could possibly meet the most
 stringent emissions standards in the nation," said Schaeffer.  "But it is
 wrong, and ignores the very real transformation that clean diesel engines,
 fuel and emissions traps have undergone to make them on par with natural gas
 at a far lower cost -- 20-30 percent per bus -- without even considering the
 fueling station costs.
     What is shockingly absent from this debate is a reliable set of data on
 the health risks and emissions profiles of natural gas.  Natural gas advocates
 apparently associate the lack of health research on CNG with "no risk,"
 although this conclusion is not warranted by an absence of data.  "Unknown
 risk," is really more appropriate, said Schaeffer.  "It is alarming to see the
 distortion of the facts about diesel technology accompanied by an unthinking
 acceptance of natural gas technology."
     The Diesel Technology Forum encourages policies that provide level playing
 fields for all clean technologies to compete, regardless of fuel type.
 Existing diesel buses can also be modernized and upgraded by re-powering them
 with a state-of-the art new clean diesel engine and using cleaner diesel fuel
 or by engine modifications and the retrofitting of emissions filters and using
 cleaner diesel fuel.
     Incentive programs to upgrade the nation's school bus fleet are welcome,
 but they should be objective, fuel-neutral, fact-based and provide options for
 school districts, rather than attempt to mandate a marketplace for any
 particular technology.  "What is not welcome are campaigns of misinformation
 that are sensationalized and distort or ignore the facts and shamefully prey
 on fear of parents and school children," asserted Schaeffer.
     When public transit agencies in California were recently faced with this
 question of fuel choice, a vast majority of those outside Southern California
 (which does not permit a diesel option) chose clean diesel technology for the
 future.  They based their preference for clean diesel on a range of factors
 including environmental health, safety, reliability, performance and
 cost-effectiveness.  Most importantly they recognized that the clean diesel
 path best supported their primary mission as transit agencies which is to
 provide safe, affordable, accessible and reliable public transportation."
     "Clean Diesel is a technology of the 21st century thanks to the continuous
 improvement in reducing emissions and in improving performance," stated
 Schaeffer.  "Today's high-tech clean diesel powered vehicles get more clean
 air for the dollar, and continue to be the leading choice for school districts
 and transit agencies around the nation."
     Copies of a Fact Sheet on Diesel Powered School Buses, the Fairfax County
 Virginia School Bus Study and related material can be found on the Diesel
 Technology Forum Web site at http://www.dieselforum.org.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -- Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X36272476
 
 

SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum
    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- "Modernizing America's school bus
 fleet with clean diesel technology is the best option for both the environment
 and the pocketbook" -- that's the message from Diesel Technology Forum
 Executive Director Allen Schaeffer in response to today's news conference by
 the Union of Concern Scientists.
     "We agree that there are changes that can be made to improve the safety of
 children on school buses and we are strong supporters of upgrading the
 nation's school bus fleet," said Schaeffer.  "Clean diesel technology is the
 most cost-effective way that also provides significant air quality benefits."
     Today's clean diesel engines are more than eight times cleaner than those
 made just a decade ago, and further improvements are coming over the next
 seven years.  For many years, school officials around the nation have
 overwhelmingly chosen diesel technology to meet their transportation needs,
 because the fuel is widely available and easy to handle.  It is efficient,
 reliable and affordable and the safest fuel when a school bus is in an
 accident.
     Recent studies about air quality on diesel school buses have produced
 dramatically different results.  An extensive science based-study by one of
 the nation's largest school districts -- Fairfax County, Virginia -- concluded
 that "breathing the air poses no health risks to our students and staff"; this
 after meticulously analyzing air quality on buses of varying ages and finding
 "no detectable levels of diesel exhaust and no age-related differences in bus
 air quality."  In contrast, a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council
 on four of the oldest school buses in California, built before emissions
 standards took effect, concluded that diesel exposure caused asthma and an
 increased risk of lung cancer in children.  The NRDC study was designed to
 generate headlines rather than sound scientific results.
     "There is an intuition that only natural gas could possibly meet the most
 stringent emissions standards in the nation," said Schaeffer.  "But it is
 wrong, and ignores the very real transformation that clean diesel engines,
 fuel and emissions traps have undergone to make them on par with natural gas
 at a far lower cost -- 20-30 percent per bus -- without even considering the
 fueling station costs.
     What is shockingly absent from this debate is a reliable set of data on
 the health risks and emissions profiles of natural gas.  Natural gas advocates
 apparently associate the lack of health research on CNG with "no risk,"
 although this conclusion is not warranted by an absence of data.  "Unknown
 risk," is really more appropriate, said Schaeffer.  "It is alarming to see the
 distortion of the facts about diesel technology accompanied by an unthinking
 acceptance of natural gas technology."
     The Diesel Technology Forum encourages policies that provide level playing
 fields for all clean technologies to compete, regardless of fuel type.
 Existing diesel buses can also be modernized and upgraded by re-powering them
 with a state-of-the art new clean diesel engine and using cleaner diesel fuel
 or by engine modifications and the retrofitting of emissions filters and using
 cleaner diesel fuel.
     Incentive programs to upgrade the nation's school bus fleet are welcome,
 but they should be objective, fuel-neutral, fact-based and provide options for
 school districts, rather than attempt to mandate a marketplace for any
 particular technology.  "What is not welcome are campaigns of misinformation
 that are sensationalized and distort or ignore the facts and shamefully prey
 on fear of parents and school children," asserted Schaeffer.
     When public transit agencies in California were recently faced with this
 question of fuel choice, a vast majority of those outside Southern California
 (which does not permit a diesel option) chose clean diesel technology for the
 future.  They based their preference for clean diesel on a range of factors
 including environmental health, safety, reliability, performance and
 cost-effectiveness.  Most importantly they recognized that the clean diesel
 path best supported their primary mission as transit agencies which is to
 provide safe, affordable, accessible and reliable public transportation."
     "Clean Diesel is a technology of the 21st century thanks to the continuous
 improvement in reducing emissions and in improving performance," stated
 Schaeffer.  "Today's high-tech clean diesel powered vehicles get more clean
 air for the dollar, and continue to be the leading choice for school districts
 and transit agencies around the nation."
     Copies of a Fact Sheet on Diesel Powered School Buses, the Fairfax County
 Virginia School Bus Study and related material can be found on the Diesel
 Technology Forum Web site at http://www.dieselforum.org.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -- Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X36272476
 
 SOURCE  Diesel Technology Forum