For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Chispa Maryland Applauds the Leadership of the Prince George’s County Council in Requesting Governor Hogan to Dedicate Funds for Electric Zero-Emissions School Buses
Upper Marlboro, MD – Yesterday afternoon the Prince George’s County Council approved a resolution to promote a healthier environment for its students and enable Prince George’s County School District to become a cleaner and healthier community. The Council is requesting Governor Larry Hogan dedicate funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund for the purchase and investment in electric zero-emission school bus fleets.
Volkswagen cheated federal emissions tests and polluted the air we breathe by emitting pollutants that increase respiratory illnesses and further the effects of climate change. Chispa Maryland proposes that these dollars should be reinvested in local communities and school districts, especially those in low income and communities of color where students and families are most at risk of breathing dirty air and disproportionately suffer from pollution.
Prince George’s County Councilmember Deni Taveras said, “The Clean-Buses resolution (CR-14-2018) sends an important message and starts the conversation in Prince George’s County about protecting community health with clean-energy investments. It is critical that the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds be used to help those most vulnerable to the negative impacts of air pollution, our children. We hope the Governor will do the right thing and dedicate these funds for investment in electric zero-emission school bus fleets.”
“Maryland communities, families and children have been under siege from VW’s toxic pollutants for almost 10 years —we’re ready to change that by making sure Governor Hogan knows our communities want clean energy school buses,” said Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Chispa Maryland Director. “This will change the lives of the more than 620,000 Maryland children who breathe dirty diesel air every day riding the bus to school. We need clean buses in the communities where our families live, work and play – it’s time for Maryland’s governor to act.”
Chispa Maryland launched the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in April 2017, after identifying Volkswagen (VW) settlement dollars available for states’ use. Now it is organizing to build momentum to ensure communities – particularly communities of color – no longer suffer the negative health consequences of diesel school bus emissions.
Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa Maryland works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.