An electric school bus, leased by Beverly Public Schools in Beverly, Massachusetts, rests in a bus yard, Oct. 21, 2021. Credit: Michael Casey

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I was disappointed to read that the Searsport-area school board rejected an opportunity to purchase electric school buses. The buses would have been entirely or almost entirely paid for by the Environmental Protection Agency thanks to their new electric school bus program, and I’m afraid Searsport has passed up a valuable opportunity to reduce pollution, save money on operation and maintenance, and enhance the health of local schoolchildren.

Recent reports about the poor air quality inside school buses due to diesel fumes should be an incentive to change. We must transition to zero-emission vehicles over time, and seeing this opportunity rejected is discouraging. Mount Desert Island was the first school district to get an electric bus in Maine and according to reports has saved 30,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions in less than a year, not to mention the cost of 2,400 gallons of diesel fuel — and it costs less to maintain. The bus has a battery range of 125 miles, plenty long enough for its route, and the driver loves it. Camden-Rockport schools are about to start using their first electric bus, and other school districts are interested in trading in their diesel buses for electric.

I hope Searsport will reconsider their decision. This opportunity to acquire electric buses is too good to turn down. If not now, when? The savings in operation and maintenance will offset any initial expense, and it is the right thing to do to reduce carbon emissions and improve human health.

Janet Williams