February 01, 2024

Manchin Secures Commitment From Epa To Fix Clean School Bus Program For Mineral, Monongalia And Harrison Counties

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rescission of award funding for three West Virginia counties to purchase zero or low-emission school buses.

The EPA originally announced $18,560,000 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean School Bus Program for Cabell, Clay, Calhoun, Kanawha, Mineral, Monongalia, Harrison, Grant and Lewis Counties. However, EPA rescinded the award funding for Mineral, Monongalia and Harrison Counties due to methodological errors in their identification of rural areas in mountainous regions.

“I am disappointed that Mineral, Monongalia and Harrison Counties will not be able to purchase new buses due to the EPA’s flawed and outdated methodology. For over a decade, I have been working on making sure rural areas within Appalachia receive the federal investments they deserve and this is a clear example that more work needs to be done. The EPA committed to working with my office to ensure their methodology is improved so these counties can receive full funding in the next grant cycle,” said Senator Manchin.

Despite all three counties qualifying for Title I funding (funding for schools with a high proportion of low-income students), the three West Virginia school districts did not meet the 35,000-student threshold, making them ineligible for self-certification in the program’s process. West Virginia is the only state that lies completely within the Appalachian Mountain region. It also has a higher mean elevation than any state in the East. According to the Census Bureau, West Virginia is the third most rural state in the nation, with 51.8% of the state’s population living in rural areas.