Maryland needs electric school buses


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to Maryland Public Service Commission

Action ended on September 15, 2023

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We’re grateful for your support.

What Was At Stake

Every day, more than 650,000 children in Maryland ride to school on a school bus powered by diesel fuel.  These students are routinely exposed to harmful pollution from exhaust fumes generated from diesel-powered vehicles including particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. It doesn’t need to be this way.

Studies have shown that a child riding inside a diesel school bus may be exposed to as much as four times the level of diesel exhaust as someone riding in a car ahead of the bus. Diesel emissions increase the lifetime risk of cancer, asthma, and heart disease.

Fortunately, Maryland has the opportunity to improve the health of kids in the state simply by electrifying the 7,200 school buses that bring them to school. Tell the state to electrify school buses today.

The legislature recently created the Utilities Electric School Bus Pilot Program to accelerate school bus electrification, and it’s time for the state to begin implementing it. Electrifying school buses will save school districts money, create jobs, protect the climate, and help communities with a backup energy supply. Not many programs can achieve so much for so little.

Despite the obvious benefits, there are still ways the state must improve the program, as it fails to deliver enough clean air relief to low-income communities and communities of color in Baltimore. While the legislation states that a pilot should prioritize these communities, BGE’s proposal only sends a fifth of the program’s resources to underserved or health-impacted communities. The state has a moral obligation to tackle this head-on and deliver air quality relief in communities who’ve been bearing the brunt of air pollution. 

The Utilities Electric School Bus Pilot Program is an exciting new program that has the potential to do a lot of good, but we need to make sure the first iteration is as effective as possible. Tell the state to prioritize electric school buses in underserved communities. 

BYD’s “Achiever” electric school bus. This model is made in California by union workers.
BYD’s “Achiever” electric school bus. This model is made in California by union workers. (Courtesy of BYD)

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention. Read more.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue.

Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court. Read more.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment. Read more.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.