Statement: Clean schools program means cleaner, healthier future

Media Contacts
Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Morgan Hayward

Former Director, Destination: Zero Carbon, Environment America Research & Policy Center

WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris will announce on Monday a clean schools infrastructure program, which features grant funding for public school energy upgrades, moneyfor electric school buses, and investments in rural schools. The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure will provide $500 million in competitive grants from the Department of Energy to make energy efficiency upgrades and improvements at public schools. These enhancements will be funded by the bipartisan infrastructure package. The program also includes support via the American Rescue Plan to improve classroom air quality, as well as new online resources to help school districts access zero-emission and alternative fuel school buses via the previously announced $5 billion Clean School Bus Program.

Monday’s announcement builds on additional programs targeting school improvements, including $200 million in investments targeting lead contamination in drinking water at public schools and childcare facilities from the bipartisan infrastructure law.

In response, Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy Johanna Neumann released the following statement:

“Equipping America’s schools with cleaner, more efficient energy technologies will reduce pollution, improve health and lower operating costs. By making sure that schools have access to clean renewable energy, we can help ensure a better future for all of us. Schools with cutting-edge energy technologies can set an example in communities across America and help educate the next generation about steps we can take to clean up our air and preserve a healthy climate. 

“Energy efficiency upgrades for our schools even have the added bonus of helping reduce these institutions’ energy costs, meaning more precious education dollars can go toward teaching our kids rather than heating or cooling drafty buildings. Less pollution, healthier kids and better education outcomes. What’s not to like? It’s great to see the Biden administration advance this kind of win-win-win that communities across the country can tap into and reap tangible local benefits.”  

Destination: Zero Carbon Campaign Director Morgan Folger released the following statement:

“When it comes to America’s school buses, green is the new yellow. Getting to school shouldn’t mean a daily dose of toxic pollution for our kids. This influx of money will ensure that more communities can replace dirty diesel buses with clean electric models that will help keep our kids safe and healthy. We’ll all breathe easier and benefit from a drop in climate pollution as more zero-emission buses start to hit the streets.”

Clean Water Program Director John Rumpler released the following statement:

“Kids need safe drinking water at school, where they go to learn and play each day. Yet lead contamination of schools’ drinking water is widespread. Thanks to key initiatives from the administration – namely, the American Recovery Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure law – schools now have substantial resources they can use to get the lead out. School officials will be able to take a major step for our children’s health by replacing lead-bearing fountains with new water stations that filter out lead.”