October 14, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and DATTCO, Inc. have reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Clean Air Act violations in Connecticut. CLF sued the company after its school buses were observed frequently violating federal and state laws regulating prolonged vehicle idling, which spreads toxic diesel exhaust into neighborhoods. The company will be required to put an end to this unlawful idling and begin transitioning to zero emission buses.
“Companies must be held responsible when they violate environmental laws and threaten public health,” said Heather Govern, Vice President and Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water program. “This settlement will reduce children’s exposure to toxic exhaust and ensure cleaner air in Connecticut. It’s time we end unlawful idling and transition away from polluting gas-powered buses.”
The settlement requires DATTCO to commit $1.8 million to the transition to a zero-emissions fleet, including purchasing vehicles, charging stations, and other infrastructure upgrades. The company must also install automatic engine shut-off technology on its entire coach fleet and on all its large diesel school buses. Finally, DATTCO must increase its monitoring of vehicle idling and make that data available in semi-annual reports.
CLF sued the company after DATTCO buses were observed idling in excess of the state’s three-minute limit (also enforceable under federal law) in lots throughout Connecticut, including in New Haven, Bridgeport, Durham, Cheshire, South Windsor, and New Canaan. DATTCO serves school districts across Connecticut and provides private coach bus services.
Vehicle idling releases harmful exhaust that can cause lung damage and aggravate conditions like asthma and bronchitis. Exposure to the pollutants in vehicle exhaust has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, brain damage, and premature death.
CLF experts are available for further comment.