School Buses Polluting Massachusetts Communities

CLF sues Durham School Services for Clean Air Act violations in Holyoke and Worcester

November 22, 2022 (BOSTON, MA) – School buses operated by Durham School Services are polluting environmental justice neighborhoods in Holyoke and Worcester with harmful tailpipe emissions in violation of the Clean Air Act. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has filed a lawsuit against Durham School Services and its parent company National Express to put an end to the unlawful, excessive idling that is causing the pollution. 

“Urban communities suffer disproportionately from toxic, polluted air,” said Heather Govern, Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water program. “Holyoke and Worcester are two of the cities most burdened by negative health impacts like asthma because of this type of pollution. Durham School Services must own up to its role in this problem, stop violating anti-idling laws, and commit to reducing pollution from its buses.” 

Durham School Services serves more than one million students in 32 states. CLF investigators observed the company’s buses idling for extended periods, in violation of federal and state law, on more than ninety occasions. The violations occurred in bus lots in Worcester and Holyoke, as well as at William G. Morgan School in Holyoke.

Idling vehicles release harmful exhaust filled with particulate matter and toxins. As the vehicles idle, these pollutants accumulate in the surrounding air. When inhaled, this pollution can cause lung damage, aggravate conditions like asthma and bronchitis, and has been linked to decreased cognitive ability, increased incidence of heart disease, multiple kinds of cancer, premature death, and greater risk of mortality from COVID-19. Children are particularly susceptible to these harms. 

You can find the complaint CLF filed in this lawsuit here. 

This is the latest lawsuit in CLF’s anti-idling campaign. Since 2019, CLF has filed eight cases in Connecticut and Massachusetts against transportation companies in violation of anti-idling laws. 

CLF experts are available for further comment.