September 8, 2023 (NEW HAVEN, CT) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and First Transit have settled a lawsuit regarding violations of anti-idling laws and the Clean Air Act. CLF sued the company after its buses were observed idling excessively in New Haven and Wethersfield, spreading dangerous air pollution into neighborhoods.
“Idling vehicles spread toxic tailpipe pollution into many communities already overburdened with harmful emissions and asthma,” said CLF attorney Erica Kyzmir-McKeon. “Buses are some of the most egregious sources of this pollution, and First Transit will now take the right steps to address the problem. CLF’s settlement will promote healthier communities by reducing excessive idling, supporting urban farming and green spaces, and enhancing air monitoring in environmental justice communities.”
First Transit provides shuttle services for Yale University. At the onset of this lawsuit, it also operated Connecticut Transit public buses in New Haven and Wethersfield.
As part of the settlement, First Transit will make payments totaling $725,000 to Gather New Haven (Gather) and the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEEJ). The company must also take steps to reduce bus idling; for example by improving driver training and monitoring. If the company fails to stop idling, it must make additional payments to Gather and CCEEJ.
This case is the latest settlement in CLF’s campaign against unlawful tailpipe pollution, which releases harmful exhaust that includes benzene, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. When inhaled, this exhaust can cause lung damage, aggravate conditions like asthma and bronchitis, and has been linked to increased incidence of heart disease, multiple kinds of cancer, and premature death. Children are particularly susceptible to these harms.
CLF experts are available for further comment.