EPA Fines Greenwich School Bus Company For Idling

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A Connecticut bus company was fined after the Environmental Protection Agency saw several school buses idling in lots.
A Connecticut bus company was fined after the Environmental Protection Agency saw several school buses idling in lots. Photo Credit: Flickr user Twix

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.

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Thx for pointing this out. With the cost of fuel today, most people would not keep their vehicle idling for 3 minutes, but medium and heavy duty (diesel) vehicle owner/drivers argue that they do so to keep the engine warm and running at it most efficient, that they burn less fuel by doing so. So, not sure about the fuel savings. But I don't think they can argue about the additional pollution.
These fines are minimal, and ineffective at bringing on cleaner, AltFuel vehicles, along with infrastructure to help more people safely and conveniently walk, bike, or take mass transit to more destinations. 30 years ago smart towns and cities around the country and abroad started to make this happen, and Greenwich was right there. Many were successful. We kept talking about it, but have little to show...

Idling Laws have been on the books for years. Google "anti-idling laws in Connecticut" for specifics on how to obey the law. This law is meant to benefit everyone. Hopefully Greenwich school administrators will follow up to be sure buses do not idle for long periods of time. Be aware - this law applies to all drivers - so do not idle your engine for more than 3 minutes.