Initiative Calls for Use of VW Settlement Dollars for Zero-Emissions School Buses in Nevada
Las Vegas, NV – Today, Chispa Nevada launches Clean Buses for Healthy Niños, a campaign calling on Governor Brian Sandoval and decision makers to put the health of Nevada’s youth and communities first by using the state’s $24.8 million Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds for clean energy, zero-emission school buses.
Volkswagen cheated federal emissions tests and polluted the air Nevadans breathe with toxins that increase respiratory illnesses and further the effects of climate change. Chispa Nevada is calling for these dollars to 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 suffering from air pollution.
“The health of over 181,000 Nevada children is at risk simply because they ride dirty diesel buses to school – we’re ready for Governor Sandoval to take a stand for our kids and our future,” said Rudy Zamora, program director of Chispa Nevada, a community organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. “These children and people living in the communities where polluting buses travel have been breathing filthy air for far too long and it’s time for our governor to act.”
“My children always take the school bus. Over the last five years or so, I noticed severe changes in my oldest child’s health. When the doctor confirmed that he had asthma, our family’s life changed,” said Angeles Carrillo, a Las Vegas resident and mother of four. “I couldn’t hold a steady job to help pay our household expenses because I had to attend to my child’s doctors’ visits. I couldn’t help him with homework assignments that he missed at school. These are very hard times.”
Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman, the main sponsor of S.B. 418, a bill calling for greater investment in zero emissions buses that is expected to pass the Nevada Senate Natural Resources committee this week, is joining Chispa Nevada in calling on Governor Sandoval to prioritize children’s health.
“This VW money needs to go directly to projects that will reduce emissions over the long-term, creating a healthier environment for our children,” said Senator Pat Spearman. “That’s why replacing and retrofitting diesel school buses, and expanding the use of electric vehicle charging stations to reduce emissions must be a top priority with the VW Mitigation Trust. We need Governor Sandoval’s endorsement to gain bipartisan support for the bill. I’m happy to partner with Chispa, who ensures that Latino voices are heard on environmental issues.”
“We have an opportunity to protect our environment, our children and help Nevada schools. S.B. 418 brings us one step closer to ditching diesel and putting zero emission buses on the thousands of miles of school bus routes in Nevada,” said Andy Maggi, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League.
Chispa Nevada is a community organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. We build the capacity of Latino families to influence policy makers and pressure polluters to protect communities’ rights to clean air and water, healthy neighborhoods and a safe climate for generations to come. Find out more at www.lcv.org/chispa or follow us @ChispaLcv on Twitter.