Phoenix, AZ – Today, Chispa Arizona launches Clean Buses for Healthy Niños, a campaign calling on Governor Doug Ducey and lawmakers to put the health of Arizona’s youth and communities first by using the state’s $53 million Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds for clean energy, zero-emission school buses.
Volkswagen cheated federal emissions tests and polluted the air we breathe with toxins that increase respiratory illnesses and further the effects of climate change. Chispa Arizona proposes that these dollars should 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 pollution.
“The health of over 300,000 Arizona children is in danger simply because they ride dirty diesel buses to school—we’re ready to change that by making sure our Governor Ducey knows communities want clean buses,” said Masavi Perea, program director of Chispa Arizona, a Latino community organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. “Arizona children and the communities where these polluting buses pass have been breathing VW’s toxic pollutants for almost 10 years – it’s time for Arizona’s governor to act.”
“Buses shouldn’t run over education with their pollution because health is very important and investment needs to be made on buses that don’t pollute the environment and the air that our children breathe,” said Herlinda Calderón, a mother of children who ride school buses in Phoenix.
Arizona State Representative Charlene Fernandez met with Chispa Arizona leaders earlier this week to discuss the urgent need for Governor Ducey’s support to allocate part of the state’s settlement money for the retrofitting and purchase of zero emission school buses. Fernandez joins Chispa AZ in the fight for clean buses and the call for action by Arizona lawmakers.
“Since Arizona schools are desperate for capital funding, utilizing the Volkswagen settlement funding to purchase or repower school buses is common sense,” said Representative Charlene Fernandez. Using the fund for this purpose creates a win-win for the state by improving our air quality and updating our aging school bus fleet.”
Above: LCV’s Chispa staff pose for a photo on the campaign’s launch day, April 6, 2017. Chispa Arizona is a community organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters’ Chispa program. 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.