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Letter: Electric school buses do not offer a global warming solution – Buffalo News

A recent editorial noted that the costs of electric school buses don’t add up unless the impact on global warming is considered. Indeed, the cost of electric school buses are more than double the cost of diesel school buses, adding over $100,000 to the cost of each bus. Furthermore, as noted in the editorial, “the fuel savings don’t account for the difference.”

The justification for electric school buses is the need to address global warming, which the editorial claims makes the calculation “all but irresistible.”

Unfortunately, the conversion to electric school buses might actually increase, not reduce, global emissions of greenhouse gases.

For example, much of the electricity for New York’s southern tier comes from a coal powered generating station in Homer City, Pa. Thus, the conversion to all-electric school buses means that those school buses will ultimately be powered by coal, hardly a wise environmental move.

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The utility system upgrades to accommodate these electric school buses also have significant environmental impacts when considering all the raw materials involved and the resulting environmental footprint.

The all-electric school buses use batteries that rely on cobalt mined in the Congo using child labor in horrific work conditions.

These batteries also rely on rare earth minerals that are mined and refined in China, which relies extensively on coal power. China accounts for about 29% of global greenhouse gases, compared to less than 0.5% for New York.

As a result of the extremely expensive mandate to convert to electric school buses, New York taxpayers will be sending millions of dollars to some of the worst miners and worst polluters in the world.

Perhaps a better alternative, financially and environmentally, is to support the purchase of school buses that use the cleanest engines produced in the world from the Cummins engine plant located here in Jamestown, including the potential use of compressed natural gas or hydrogen.

Addressing global warming is certainly an important and laudable goal, but a thorough environmental evaluation is needed to ensure that well-intended initiatives actually reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and do not simply create even greater emissions in other states or countries.

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell

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