The Baker Politio Administration announced last week the latest round of Diesel Emmission Reudcation Act (DERA) grant awards for projects that will reduce the release of harmful diesel emissions into the atmosphere from vehicles and equipment across the Commonwealth. $1.8 million was awarded to five municipalities and two commercial entities. for the purchase of electric vehicles (EV) and equipment to replace diesel-fueled versions. MassDEP prioritized projects that serve Environmental Justice populations, drive technological and policy progress, and promote equitable geographic distribution of the DERA funding across the state.
Amherst Regional Public Schools received $196,920 for the purchase of an electric school bus and charger.
“Our administration understands that electrifying the transportation sector is vital as we continue down our path towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This investment will improve air quality and expand the market for innovative transportation technologies.”
Diesel emissions can not only result in serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses, but also exacerbate global climate change. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution, while carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas. The Baker-Polito Administration estimates that the EV replacements announced last week will result in 100 percent reduction in tailpipe emissions, for total project lifetime reductions of 2.4 short tons of NOx, 857.2 short tons of CO2, and 0.11 short tons of PM2.5.
In 2016 Amherst was one of three municipalities awarded a grant to pilot the use of electric school buses. That grant brought one electric school bus to the district’s fleet.