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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NM's Electric School Bus Advocates Seek VW Settlement Money

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Monday, April 30, 2018   

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One in 11 New Mexico children suffers from asthma, and a state advocacy group says that's a big reason the state should spend its windfall from the Volkswagen emissions scandal payout to outfit school districts with zero-emission electric buses.

The comment period has opened for residents to have a say in how the state spends $18 million - its share of the VW Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund spokeswoman Liliana Castillo said opting for cleaner school buses should be a top priority.

"By using this opportunity to transition diesel buses to zero-emissions electric buses, we're really setting up current kids today and future generations of kid to have a higher quality of life and reduce asthma rates,” Castillo said.

The German carmaker was fined a total of $2.7 billion for cheating on federal emission laws and causing environmental harm. Comments on how New Mexico should use the VW money are being accepted through May 14 at vw.info@state.nm.us

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, 47,000 children in the state suffer from asthma. Castillo said certain neighborhoods, particularly in Albuquerque, are disproportionately affected by poor air quality because of their proximity to lots where school districts park their buses.

"There's hundreds of buses idling next to homes for hours every single week,” she said. “And so the families that live near these sites are disproportionately impacted by poor air quality - specifically diesel emissions in this example."

In the draft plan, the state's environmental department argues that electric school buses are not a cost-efficient use of settlement funds. Other projects eligible include freight trucks, transit buses, forklifts and electric- or hydrogen-vehicle charging stations.


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