DANBURY, Conn. – A school bus company that serves several school districts in Connecticut, including Danbury and Greenwich, has been fined by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for violating anti-idling regulations. The regulations prohibit buses from idling for more than three minutes in Connecticut.
The fines were brought against Ocean State Transit and STA of Connecticut, which are both subsidiaries of Student Transportation America. EPA officials observed buses in 2011 idling for more than 30 minutes in some cases, according to an EPA statement. Each company is required to pay a $35,000 penalty as well as fund $131,000 worth of environmental projects.
“Idling diesel engines emit pollutants, which can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems, including asthma and other respiratory diseases, and the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely human carcinogen,” the EPA said in the statement. “Diesel exhaust not only contributes to areawide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing and other symptoms.”
The buses were caught idling in a company parking lot in Stamford, not on Greenwich school property, officials at the Greenwich School District said. Officials in Danbury could not be reached for comment. The EPA also could not be reached for comment. The EPA statement did not list specific locations where buses were idling.
As part of the settlement, the bus companies will launch a national training and management program to reduce idling. STA of Connecticut will also replace nine older buses with newer vehicles better pollution-controlling systems, according to the statement.
By eliminating excess idling, STA could reduce fuel use by 135,000 gallons and prevent more than 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, according to the statement.