BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $450,000 settlement on Wednesday with the largest school bus operator in the state to resolve allegations of air pollution and compliance reporting violations.
First Student Inc. allegedly violated an order from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection that prohibited bus idling while parked outside of schools and at its own parking and maintenance facilities. MassDEP's idling regulations require that motor vehicles cannot idle for more than five minutes as idling can contribute to air pollution.
In 2008 and 2009, MassDEP alleged that First Student diesel school buses engaged in unnecessary idling at various schools in Roslindale, Roxbury, Dorchester, South Boston, Brockton and Springfield. In 2010, MassDEP and First Student signed an administrative consent order requiring the company to educate its drivers, inspect its facilities and schools for idling instances, report to MassDEP on a quarterly basis and stop excessive idling.
Between June 2010 and January 2013, First Student allegedly engaged in multiple idling violations and failed to conduct required inspections.
Under the terms of the agreement, First Student will pay $300,000 in civil penalties and $150,000 to help fund two state projects meant to reduce harmful particulate emissions and encourage the use of cleaner hybrid vehicles.