The NM Environment Department is holding public meetings over the next two weeks to help shape how we spend our $18 million from the Volkswagen settlement. You can lend your voice. Attend a public meeting to ask the Environment Department to transition New Mexico schools to electric buses.

Dirty diesel school buses emit dangerous pollutants that kids breathe into their developing lungs, causing respiratory illnesses, aggravating asthma and exposing youth to cancer-causing pollutants. We have a great opportunity to utilize New Mexico’s $18 million portion of the Volkswagen settlement fund. Please attend one of the public information sessions and join us in asking to use this money to transition from dirty diesel to clean, energy-efficient electric school buses.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settled with Volkswagen over Clean Air Act violations after the car company cheated on clean air testing for their diesel vehicles. Over the course of the next two weeks, the Environment Department will be hosting public information meetings across the state to determine a plan for utilizing New Mexico’s share of the settlement. This presents a great opportunity to implement a solution that would directly assist the very communities impacted by dirty diesel and poor air quality, primarily low-income and communities of color.

Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund’s program Juntos: Our Air, Our Water is working on this issue because mothers working with Juntos have children that suffer from asthma, and dirty diesel school buses aggravate these problems. A perfect solution is to use the money available to us through this settlement to transition schools across the state to clean, electric school buses. This would be a true win-win for our communities.

This may be the only public meeting opportunity to weigh in as the Environment Department develops its plan for utilizing these settlement funds. The Environment Department has asked for public input at their August meetings, so let’s pack the rooms to show strong support for clean, efficient electric buses for New Mexico’s children.

In New Mexico, there are approximately 166,000 kids who ride school buses to over 89 school districts, which serve more than a 300,000 students, over half of whom are children of color. With so many children exposed to pollution, it’s no coincidence that more than 1 in 11 suffer from asthma.

Speak up for New Mexico’s children – attend a public meeting and let them know you support clean, energy-efficient electric school buses. Together we can seize this opportunity for the future of New Mexico.