§ 31-47.3-3. Reducing emissions from school buses.
(a) Purpose. To reduce health risks from diesel particulate matter (DPM) to Rhode Island school children by significantly reducing tailpipe emissions from school buses, and preventing engine emissions from entering the passenger cabin of the buses.
(b) Requirements for Rhode Island school buses:
(1) By September 1, 2010, no full-size school bus with an engine model year 1993 or older may be used to transport school children in Rhode Island; and,
(2) By September 1, 2010 any new bus added to current bus fleets or after September 1, 2010 whenever a new contract is entered into by a city, town, school district or the state all busses included in that contract shall be equipped with a closed crankcase ventilation system and either: (i) Shall be equipped with a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 device verified by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the California Air Resources Board; or (ii) Shall be equipped with an engine of model year 2007 or newer; or (iii) Shall achieve the same or higher diesel PM reductions through the use of alternative fuel such as compressed natural gas verified by CARB/EPA to reduce DPM emissions at a level equivalent to or higher than subparagraph (b)(2)(ii) above; and,
(3) Providing there is sufficient federal or state monies, by September 1, 2012, all full-sized school buses transporting children in Rhode Island must be retrofitted with a closed crankcase ventilation system and either: (i) be equipped with a level 1, level 2, or level 3 device verified by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the California Air Resources Board; or (ii) be equipped with an engine of model year 2007 or newer; or (iii) achieve the same or higher diesel PM reductions through the use of an alternative fuel such as compressed natural gas verified by CARB/EPA to reduce DPM emissions at a level equivalent to or higher than subparagraph (b)(3)(ii) above.
(c) Financial assistance to defray costs of pollution reductions called for in (b)(2):
(1) The director shall work with the Rhode Island department of transportation or other authorized agencies to maximize the allocation of federal grants and loan monies provided for Rhode Island pursuant to the congestion mitigation and air quality improvement program (CMAQ) for diesel emissions reductions in federal FY 2008 and thereafter until the retrofit goals in this act are met.
(2) Drawing upon any available federal or state monies, the director shall establish and implement a system of providing reimbursements consistent with this section to municipalities, vendors, or school bus owners for the purchase and installation of any CARB/EPA-verified emission control retrofit device together with the purchase and installation of closed crankcase ventilation system (CCV) retrofit device. To the extent practicable, in kind services will also be utilized to offset some of the costs. Incentive recipients must also certify that newly purchased or retrofitted buses with a level 3 technology will operate in the state of Rhode Island for a minimum of four (4) years unless the bus fleet owner's contract with the school district or state has expired.
(d) Priority community provision:
(1) When federal funds or funds from state or other sources become available, for use under subsection (c), these shall be allocated by the director, to the extent practicable, as follows: (i) First, for control of emissions from school buses operating primarily in urban core or urban ring cities. Buses operating primarily in urban core or urban ring cities must be retrofitted to the best available standard as defined in paragraph (d)(3); (ii) Next, for control of emissions from buses not operating primarily in urban core or urban ring cities. (iii) Lastly, for buses operating primarily in urban core or urban ring cities already retrofitted with a level 1, level 2, or level 3 and/or crankcase ventilator device but that do not meet the best available standard as defined in paragraph (d)(3). Buses already meeting the best available standard as defined in paragraph (d)(3) will not be considered for this retrofitting program and municipalities, vendors, or school bus owners owning equipment retrofitted either prior to the implementation of this retrofit program or through another retrofit program with a level 1, level 2, level 3 and/or crankcase ventilator device will not be reimbursed as outlined in paragraph (c)(2).
(2) Fleet owners currently holding contracts with Rhode Island school districts, and Rhode Island school districts owning their own fleets must comply with the retrofitted prioritization scheme as determined by the director and work with DEM to ensure that (i) By September 1, 2012 all buses are retrofit as outlined in paragraph (b)(3); and (ii) By September 1, 2010 no new bus may be added to their current fleets unless they meet standards outlined in paragraph (b)(2).
(3) The "best available" standard is attained by all new buses (engine MY2007 and newer); by diesel buses engine model year 2003 to 2006, inclusive, that have been retrofitted with level 3-verified diesel particulate filters and closed crankcase ventilation systems; provided, however, that if DEM finds that the cost of a level 3 verified diesel particulate filter is not reasonable or otherwise not appropriate for use on a particular engine, the standard shall be at least a level 1 verified diesel emission control device and closed crankcase ventilation system; by diesel buses engine model year 1994 to 2002, inclusive, that has been retrofitted with at least level 1 verified diesel emission control devices and closed crankcase ventilation systems; and by natural gas buses that achieve the same or better emissions standards as a 2007 engine model year diesel bus.
(4) "Urban core cities" means Central Falls, Newport, Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket
(5) "Urban ring cities" means North Providence, East Providence, West Warwick, Cranston, and Warwick.
(e) To achieve the pressing public health and environmental goals of this act, DEM shall identify opportunities to achieve maximize PM reductions from diesel powered heavy duty vehicle or equipment that is owned by, operated by, or on behalf of, or leased by, or operating under a contract to a state agency or state or regional public authority (except vehicles that are specifically equipped for emergency response) and diesel powered waste collection and recycling vehicles that are owned, leased, or contracted to perform the removal or transfer or municipal, commercial or residential waste, or recycling services. No later than January 1, 2008, DEM shall present a report to the general assembly, governor, house committee on environment and natural resources, and the senate committee on environment and agriculture on such opportunities to maximum PM reductions from the aforementioned fleets including legislative changes, regulatory changes, funding sources, contract requirements, procurement requirements, and other mechanisms that will bring about maximum PM reductions from these two priority fleets. This report shall explore funding sources beyond CMAQ, including but not limited to Diesel Reductions Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funds under the Federal Energy Act.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid and after exhaustion of all further judicial review, the judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act directly involved in the controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
(P.L. 2007, ch. 177, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 219, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 475, § 7; P.L. 2010, ch. 171, § 2; P.L. 2010, ch. 184, § 2; P.L. 2010, ch. 239, § 32.)