El Paso Corp. CEO Doug Foshee is challenging Houston area businesses to ante up to clean school bus emissions.
Foshee presented a $50,000 check to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Monday to use in a program that is helping school districts retrofit diesel buses with equipment that reduces emissions both inside and outside the buses. The money will be added to a pool of $8.75 million in state money that schools can apply for.
School buses aren’t a huge source of local air pollution — of the 165.83 tons per day of NOx emitted in the Houston area daily about 3.47 tons, or 2.1 percent, are from school buses, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But apparently the emissions are a specific health concern for the kids on the buses themselves.
Foshee said El Paso is also issuing the challenge to smaller companies that might be willing to sponsor retrofitting a single bus in their community, which can range from $800 to enclose a crankcase to $7,500 to install an exhaust filter system.
The natural gas pipeline giant doesn’t actually have a lot of operations in the Houston area that contribute to local air quality problems, but Foshee’s been pretty active on that front regardless. A Houston native and Rice alum, Foshee said Monday that public education, air quality and mobility are three key issues the city needs to address.
“If we get it right, we’ll wake up 20 years from now and Houston will be a great place to live,” Foshee said. “But if we don’t, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”