Letter: Jean Wright, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

Editor: Loudoun County Public Schools has wisely applied for the EPA’s Clean School Bus Grant Program for 25 EV school buses. If awarded, it would bring the number of EV school buses in the county to 46. While 46 EV buses are a small percentage of the school district’s approximately 800 diesel buses, it is a beginning for bettering physical health and well-being of our children and grandchildren, for LCPS staff and Loudoun County citizens.  

Diesel school buses emit four of the EPA’s six worst pollutants for public and environmental health; the four are particulate matter (soot), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. These pollutants are factors in cases of asthma, allergies, and other upper respiratory issues. They also exacerbate these diseases.

When you stop behind an idling diesel bus while children climb on or off, you are breathing the same dangerous noxious emissions that the children experience. Only last year, a National Resources Defense Council study indicated that a child riding in a diesel bus could be exposed to up to four times the diesel exhaust that a child riding in a car ahead of the bus might be. Riding in the back of a diesel school bus, with windows closed, results in even more exposure to unhealthy emissions. Transport in diesel buses presents an important public health issue for our children, grandchildren, and others.

EV school buses, on the other hand, have no tailpipe emissions and thus provide a ride to school free from dangerous exhausts. For this reason alone, LCPS should not buy one more diesel bus. The LCPS must develop a plan for the replacement of all diesel buses with buses providing our youth a healthier ride to and from school. Any school bus orders for diesel buses need rescinding, replaced by an order for EV buses.

EV school buses can provide an important teaching tool to our students about public and environmental health. EV buses are a great show-and-tell for one of the ways Loudoun County Public Schools and the larger community put children’s health first. 

Children want to be confident that their schools and communities are doing everything in their power to protect them from harm. That confidence grows through actions taken in support of their well-being. As we learn about the dangers of diesel fuel emissions and their effect upon children’s health, will the School Board develop a strategic plan for replacing diesel buses with EV buses?

If so, then every EV bus becomes evidence for LCPS actions taken in support of children’s physical health. It will communicate to our children and youth, we have your back. May every child in the LCPS system receive this inherent message as delivered by every new EV school bus: “We have your back.” 

Rev. Dr. Jean Wright, Co-Founder 

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

14 thoughts on “Letter: Jean Wright, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

  • 2022-08-23 at 8:25 am
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    Somehow, by some miracle of god, nearly every single person you will run into today rode to school in a diesel-powered school bus.
    And for our entire lives, we have been surrounded by these yellow behemoths at times during the day.

    And you know what? We’re all just fine. Living our lives. In the absence of electric school busses.

    I’m nearly 100% certain that the letter writer and their “alliance” wouldn’t be pushing unproven technology in the form of school busses powered by toxic materials and electricity, if those resources were being mined here in Loudoun, would they?
    Nope. because it’s all being done “somewhere else.” The dirty mining, the dirty manufacturing, the dirty electricity generation, the power transmission… all in someone’s else’s backyard.

    This is nothing but another demand letter from the cult of “green.”

  • 2022-08-23 at 8:34 am
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    Thank you Rev. Wright for your wonderful essay. I agree wholeheartedly that LCPS musn’t purchase one more diesel bus. Moreover, it should promptly begin phasing out its existing diesel buses. Goodness knows what their toxic emissions do to Little Loudouners. As the United Negro College Fund said in 1972 in its iconic advertising campaign: “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” Welcome Back to School Students!

  • 2022-08-23 at 10:01 am
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    How about if we simply stop bussing children all over the county and allow them to walk to the closest school? It worked for me. I think I walked to school all but a few years in middle school and junior high.

    And of course, let’s see how much those batteries cost to replace in a few years. There have already been horror stories about replacement batteries costing more than the original vehicle price. And let’s see how those batteries do in the coldest of winters. Batteries don’t do well in extreme cold weather.

    And of course, we will need sufficient power generation facilities to charge those busses. I wonder if the author prefers nuclear or coal plants?

    • 2022-08-24 at 9:27 pm
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      I agree with most everything you said, with exception to the part about all the kids walking to school. Times have changed, a LOT has changed on our roads and it is just not safe for all kids to walk to school anymore.
      We have drivers who are very distracted by their phones, and roads that are crowded with too many vehicles. I have no problem with kids who live within a half mile of school walking, but kids walking much farther than that will just lead to tragedies.
      Otherwise, bravo Jonathan!

      • 2022-08-26 at 9:10 am
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        I left out some points in my brief reply that I’ll mention now. First, if we are raising children who can’t walk to school with the assistance of crossing guards then we are making a series of mistakes. It is primarily the responsibility of parents to see their children to school, to clothe them and to feed them. It is at the insistence of the politicians that we bus kids miles from home which creates the necessity for busses to begin with. Now that parents have acquiesced to that demand, these same politicians tell us that certain kinds of busses are no longer acceptable. And it is likely that parents will surrender to this next demand and fund different busses we don’t need in the first place.

        We constantly hear about childhood obesity and lack of exercise. A brisk walk to school might well resolve that problem. I knew very few obese children when I was in school.

        And school busses are not without risks. Most have no safety belts on the seats and buss accidents are not unheard of. And I don’t recall an epidemic of pedestrians getting hit on sidewalks.

        I would venture that 1/4 to 1/3 of children in Loudoun live within a mile their schools. I live less than 2 miles from several elementary, middle and high schools. If we could eliminate 30% of busses from the road we would reduce diesel pollution and traffic congestion. But that isn’t what these politicians want. And I suspect that if we eliminated the need for these busses some bureaucrat would come up with a new plan that would keep most of the fleet running and most of the drivers driving because their goal is to increase the size and cost of government. It really isn’t about getting kids to school. And we let them get away with that.

  • 2022-08-23 at 11:32 am
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    Consider the costs and the only people in favor of these monstrosities are government entities spending taxpayer dollars virtue signaling on our dime!

  • 2022-08-23 at 12:15 pm
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    EVs have a lot of shortcomings, but the one that concerns me the most regrading buses is fires. We now see that EVs have a greater tendency to catch on fire, they burn particularly hot, and fire departments don’t have the proper equipment to extinguish them (another cost to the taxpayer). Cram a bunch of kids on top of that big bus battery, and I’m not sure that electric school buses are a good idea.

  • 2022-08-23 at 5:06 pm
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    Nothing like a bunch of wealthy, left wing, self-important, eco-grifters, lamenting about wealthy Loudoun kids, while ignoring the horrific plight of African children working the Cobalt mines of the Congo, or the environmentally devastating mining practices for Lithium.

    These people have zero credibility.

    • 2022-08-24 at 11:16 am
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      One thing for which I will give credit: the author is speaking for a faith-based entity, as is appropriate for our state-sponsored green religion

  • 2022-08-23 at 9:01 pm
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    “When you stop behind an idling diesel bus while children climb on or off, you are breathing the same dangerous noxious emissions that the children experience. ”

    NOW you’re worried about the children? You people forced the schools to close, forced isolation, forced masking which has damaged an entire generation. Suicide, depression, drug addiction, socially stunted and academically damage Loudoun youth are your claim to fame.

    The writer should have been fact checked. Diesel engines are now much cleaner than diesel engines just 10 years ago due to increased emission requirements.

    EV buses are a joke.
    Do a little research and you will find that the batteries do NOT support normal heating of the bus during the winter. That’s right. You can’t keep the kids comfortably warm without draining the battery and most likely NOT make the round trip pick up with enough juice. Loudoun should KEEP our good ole diesel school busses!!!

  • 2022-08-24 at 5:01 pm
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    This piece paints a very distorted picture of the merits of EV school buses, such as the notion that riding in an electric bus instead of a diesel bus saves children from exposure to exhaust fumes… but conveniently ignores that an EV bus operates in traffic with all the other cars and trucks around that do have tailpipe emissions.

    In VA 65% of diesel school buses on the road now are 2011 and newer generation advanced diesels with particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction systems. Getting more of these buses on the road will cost the least and do the most for clean air and climate change.

    By only focusing on EV buses for future purchases, Loudon will ensure that the age of its bus fleet goes up and more kids are riding on older vehicles without the most advanced emissions controls and safety features.

    Loudon should consider using renewable biodiesel fuels in its existing bus fleet – no need for new buses or expensive charging stations – and reduce the carbon footprint by 50% or more overnight.

  • 2022-08-25 at 9:58 am
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    I agree that EV buses need to take a holistic look from not only the mining, to source of power generation, battery life/disposal impacts compared to emissions impact. Lots going on here. However, at the same time every legit scientific resource has shown that greenhouse gases coming from emissions are impacting all of our lives, and if we ignore it, there is significant harm coming to our kids future. I don’t have any answers here on this one, but I hope the smart folks out there figure something out sooner than later. I do believe politics need to be left out of it.

  • 2022-08-25 at 7:07 pm
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    Interestingly NONE of the commenters asked what is the current efficiency of the 800 LCPS buses? Nobody asked why special ed buses with assistants on the bus stop and pick up non-special ed students going from the exact same start point to the exact same stop point? Nobody asked why 1000’s of elementary parents drive their student to and from the school every day and what is that effect on the climate/environment and WHY is it done? When do we notice virtue signaling is a poor substitute for reasonable management of LCPS assets?

  • 2022-08-26 at 5:42 pm
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    Another wacko liberal recommending spending millions of other people’s money on a a colossally inefficient use of capital. School busses are uses only a few hours a days for less than half the calendar year. If you demand EVs pick a vehicle that spends most of its time on the road.

    Same with school building. Ever see a company construct a building and only use it part time? No, because they have spreadsheets. They understand allocating scare resources unlike the greenies.

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