“Sierra Club is one of our strongest partners that shares our goals to see EV technology deployed. Sierra Club is very responsive to opportunities and it was impressive how quickly the organization could mobilize its vast network of members on the local level to action. Having a strong voice in the advocacy sector has been really critical to advancing electric bus technology through the VW settlement.”
Director of Transportation Efficiency, VEIC
CLIMATE & CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTIONS PARTNER PROFILE:
SEIZING AN OPPORTUNITY TO INVEST IN ZERO-EMISSIONS SCHOOL BUSES
After Volkswagen (VW) admitted to cheating on diesel emissions tests, the automaker was forced to pay more than $15 billion, including $2.7 billion to states for investment in plans that reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector and help offset the pollution it illegally dumped into our air. With the billions of dollars now available from the VW Clean Air Act Civil Settlement (VW settlement) for all 50 states to invest in clean transportation programs, states can choose to invest their funds to replace or retrofit polluting school buses with clean, zero-emission fleets. Children are among the most vulnerable to health impacts from air pollution caused by diesel emissions because of their higher respiration rates and long daily school bus rides.
CHILDREN EXPOSED TO UNHEALTHY AIR
SCHOOL DISTRICTS VULNERABLE TO PRICE SPIKES AND GAS SUPPLY DISRUPTION
MOBILIZED GRASSROOT MOVEMENT TO SPREAD AWARENESS OF SCHOOL
LEVERAGED VW SETTLEMENT FUNDING FOR ZERO-EMISSION
SCHOOL BUS FLEETS
The Sierra Club collaborated with VEIC—a sustainable energy non-profit organization specializing in transportation electrification programs and policies, renewable energy, and energy efficiency—to raise awareness and support for electric school buses to replace aging diesel fleets in New York and New England. The goal of the collaboration was to secure VW settlement funds for electric school bus projects throughout the region. The Sierra Club drove awareness and regional grassroots mobilization, while VEIC provided the technical consultancy, education, and support school districts needed about electric vehicle technology, accessing VW settlement funds, and overcoming barriers of adoption. In hosting seven workshops around the region, developing educational resources, and engaging community advocates from 2017 to 2018, the Sierra Club and VEIC brought new stakeholders to the table that were interested in adopting electric school bus technology. More importantly, these activities greatly raised awareness and interest with key stakeholders and the public for the opportunity to leverage VW settlement plans to include electric school bus projects that are equitably designed to serve the communities most impacted by air pollution.