FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Community leaders ask legislature to support transitioning
diesel school buses to zero emissions electric

NM’s $18 Million Volkswagen Settlement earmarked to reduce diesel pollution

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, the New Mexico Legislature House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard House Joint Memorial 6 – VW Settlement Funds for Electric School Buses, sponsored by Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero and Senator Linda Lopez at the State Capitol. The committee voted 6-6 on a do pass motion on the memorial.

In partnership with community leaders who have seen their children get sick from diesel emissions, CVNM developed HJM 6 to demonstrate the legislature’s support of transitioning the aging dirty diesel fleets in school districts across the state to clean electric buses. Every day, hundreds of thousands of children breathe in toxic diesel fumes on their way to and from school. The diesel emissions pouring from school buses can cause wheezing, bronchitis and more intense asthma attacks.

Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) busted Volkswagen for cheating on diesel emissions standards. Now, thanks to diligent enforcement of commonsense protections, the carmaker is shelling out an $18 million settlement to New Mexico, and it’s all earmarked to reduce diesel pollution.

“It’s very sad to see that the conversation was about money over the wellbeing of people,” said Victor Nevarez, youth contracted organizing with Juntos: Our Air, Our Water after the hearing. “We’re talking about diesel emissions from school buses that directly impact children with developing lungs. The Volkswagen settlement presents an opportunity to move forward with technology to benefit our health and we need to be open to change for the better.”

“In her State of the State speech on the opening day of the legislature, Gov. Martinez talked about helping New Mexican children. Right now, she has an opportunity to put that talk into action by using the Volkswagen funds – which wouldn’t impact the state budget – and help us all breathe easier. That’s what we call a win-win, “says Rep. Roybal Caballero

In New Mexico, there are approximately 166,000 kids who ride school buses each day, over half of whom are children of color and one in 11 children in our state already suffer from asthma.

HJM 6 is supported by Juntos: Our Air, Our Water, decision-makers and other community organizations.

Media Contact: Liliana Castillo at 505-992-8683 or liliana@cvnm.org

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