Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Advocates for home- and community-based services urge Congress to invest in what's become known as the "care economy," and U.S. Senate votes to advance a bipartisan infrastructure plan.


Senators reach a deal on an infrastructure package, Walmart will offer free college tuition to its employees, and some Republican governors are rejecting new CDC mask-wearing guidelines.

MN Electric School Bus Advocates Renew Push for Volkswagen Money


Thursday, August 15, 2019   

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Advocates who want to see cleaner running school buses on the streets are urging residents to let the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency know they want the state's Volkswagen settlement money spent to purchase the buses.

Noa Shavit-Lonstein, a policy analyst with the clean energy advocacy group MN350, says emissions from diesel buses are linked to asthma in Minnesota, where one in 14 children and one in 13 adults suffers from the lung disease.

She says the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is taking input through Friday on how the VW funds should be spent.

"Air pollution, especially the kind that comes from transportation, small particulate matter, sulfur oxide – those are linked to asthma attacks, to heart disease, to all these things that interfere with the lives of children and adults," she points out.

A 2015 study found that between 6% and 13% of respiratory and cardiovascular hospital visits in the Twin Cities could partly be attributed to air pollution, despite air quality meeting federal standards.

Asthma is the primary cause of school absenteeism in Minnesota, hitting communities of color especially hard where asthma rates are higher.

Volkswagen agreed to pay nearly $3 billion to settle claims that for a decade its diesel vehicles violated clean air standards and the company cheated on emission tests to hide that pollution.

Shavit-Longstein says Minnesota still has $23 million left to distribute, and putting it toward children and climate-change action should be a priority.

"Electric school buses are still pretty expensive, and it can be a hard thing for school districts to justify without a grant like this, and so it's really important that Minnesota seeds that progress and makes it part of our climate plan," she states.

Shavit-Longstein says diesel buses can emit toxins for 15 to 20 years or longer when agencies don't have the funds to replace older models.

At the same time, she says an electric bus is estimated to save $11,000 in operating costs a year compared with diesel powered buses.

Written comments can be can sent to

get more stories like this via email

In a survey of young people who have experienced foster care, nearly 20% reported they ran out of food. (Maya Kruchancova/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansans ages 16 to 26 who are or have been in the foster-care system now are eligible for one-time payments of at least $750…

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jessica Molina of Perrysburg says she was inspired as a child by the spirit of activism, as she watched her parents participate in …


HARRISBURG, Pa. - U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wants to bring back the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public-works program from the 1930s that created …

Nationwide, drug-overdose deaths increased by 30% between 2019 and 2020. (Andrey/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

CHICAGO - Overdose deaths in Illinois rose by more than a quarter from 2019 to 2020, and medical experts are warning that pills not prescribed by a …

Health and Wellness

MINNEAPOLIS - As COVID cases trend upward again, public-health experts are setting the record straight on certain storylines about new infections…

If passed, New York could become the third state in the country to amend its state Constitution to guarantee that "each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment." (Adobe Stock)


ALBANY, N.Y. - A ballot measure could give New York residents the constitutional right to a healthy environment, and on Tuesday a group of state …

Social Issues

SALEM, Ore. - Young people of color are locked up at disproportionately high rates compared with their white peers, despite recent signs the gap is …


HOUSTON - Cities in the southern United States, especially large urban communities along the coasts, are facing extreme heat attributable to climate …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021