On Friday (September 7th) the Governor signed legislation that will reduce air pollution from idling school buses. The bill requires the Commissioner of Education to issue regulations requiring certain school districts, particularly those with a significant number of children with asthma, to minimize the idling of school buses while parked on school grounds or in front of schools.
Emissions from diesel engines in trucks and buses contain pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and microscopic particles of soot that can become lodged deep in human lungs. These pollutants have been linked to cancer, respiratory diseases, such as asthma, and other serious health conditions.
In a Press Release Director of the Asthma Free School Zone, Rebecca Kalin, said:
Until the day when children can protect themselves from environmental hazards it is up to adults to do it for them. Because a school holds a concentration of children, protecting the school zone makes sense. The Asthma Free School Zone applauds the passage of the idle-free school zones act. We look forward to continuing progress in the reduction of tailpipe emissions in New York State.
State law already restricts bus and truck idling to no more than five consecutive minutes. This legislation authorizes the Commissioner of Education to require that school buses to be turned off while waiting for passengers to load or unload on school grounds or in front of schools, unless idling is necessary for heating, mechanical or emergency conditions. The Commissioner of Education must promulgate these regulations by July 1, 2008.