The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded its largest grant in the country to South Carolina schools. The money will be used to make the state's school buses more environmentally friendly.
Aiken County plays a big part in making this happen. The half million dollar grant will make your child's ride to school safer and cleaner. Underneath the bus, the muffler would be replaced with a filter to make the emissions that come out of the back of the bus cleaner...but that's just the beginning.
Brian Barnes not only works for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, he also has a son with asthma. And for 9 year old David, riding on the bus can be tough. Brian says "diesel emissions are a breathing irritant and it's a asthma trigger." Brian is thrilled that these filters will replace the mufflers on 132 buses.
The grant also means that more than a thousand state buses will run on biodiesel, a fuel made from soybeans. That biodiesel fuel is likely to be supplied by an Aiken County company, United Energy. The company currently has a contract with the state to fuel the school buses and hopes to renew that contract this July.
The long term plan for South Carolina is to fuel all its buses with biodiesel. E.P.A. officials are already working on the funding. Scott Davis of the E.P.A. says "We hope to have a mulitstate grant and when you affect many people in a positive manner, you're able to obtain more money."
The biodiesel and filters should be ready this summer. so this plan will start next school year.