State moves toward clean energy economy; school buses a start

LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – An executive order issued by Gov. Cooper aims to accelerate the state’s transition to a clean energy economy, encouraging the push to zero-emission vehicles for state agencies.

Trucks and buses are included in the order, and the Lenoir County School District is one area where the plan is moving forward.

“Whether you’re operating a family car or a fleet of work trucks or certainly if you’re operating 140 school buses that travel more than a million miles a year, you want to do what you can for the environment,” Lenoir County Schools public information officer said.

The district will share a chunk of $30 million to fund 161 new buses across North Carolina, some being all-electric.

“We won a grant for $480,000 to secure an electric school bus which will probably be a couple of months down the road, but we have it coming,” Holmes said. “In the last year, we put five propane-powered school buses on the road, which are not necessarily less expensive to operate but better for the environment.”

Not only is this shift expected to benefit the environment as a whole, but it could also benefit kids individually.

“When kids get on a school bus, maybe it runs on diesel, puts pollution particulate matter through the tailpipe, and they breathe that in, that means increased asthma attacks, it means increased days of school that they miss,” Ali Zaidi, a national climate advisor said.

ECU and Pitt County also plan to do their part by slowly transitioning into using all-electric buses.

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