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Washington Senate passes HB 1368 ahead of final session deadline

OLYMPIA, WA (Feb 29)–The Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC) celebrates Senators voting 29-20 to pass HB 1368 off the Senate floor. Once the House concurs, the bill will be sent to the Governor’s desk to become law. This legislative priority for the EPC creates a pathway to transition the state’s more than 12,000 diesel-powered school buses to zero-emission alternatives. 

“A quiet, safe and healthy ride to school creates a better learning environment for our kids, while addressing harmful climate pollution and cleaning up the air in our communities,” said Leah Missik, Acting Washington Director, Climate Solutions (member organization of the EPC). “This is a terrific victory, and we’re grateful to Representative Senn for championing this priority and getting it across the finish line this year. A clean future is in sight for Washington.”

HB 1368 strengthens an existing grant program that funds the purchase of zero-emission school buses, and will provide increased funding via the Climate Commitment Act for the purchase of buses and charging infrastructure to make this transition successful. 

Setting Washington up for a clean fleet, HB 1368 outlines when new school buses must be zero-emission. This will begin when zero-emission buses are the cost-effective choice and their upfront cost plus fuel and maintenance is less than diesel options, which experts anticipate to be the case in five years or less. 

“The 100% Clean School Buses bill ensures Washington’s kids and families can benefit from healthy and affordable climate solutions. This bill is one of many examples of progress that is happening in our state to tackle the climate crisis,” said Darcy Nonemacher, Government Affairs Director at Washington Conservation Action representing the Environmental Priorities Coalition. “EPC applauds leaders stepping up to pass this legislation into law. We will evaluate the final budgets next week to ensure climate investments turn this new policy into reality.”

Washington’s transportation sector contributes the majority of dangerous climate pollution in the state. The state needs to aggressively pursue ways to transition to clean alternatives. HB 1368 helps in this transition, while also creating a healthier and safer environment for students. Research has shown that air quality inside the school bus can be four to twelve times worse than outside air- which means our students are exposed to toxic, health-harming chemicals for their entire ride to school.

Last year a clean school bus driver in the Highline School district, Theo White, noted noise reduction when advocating for clean school buses, saying, “The students get on and they love it. They look around and wonder why it’s so quiet. We have students that have autism and special needs. Driving this bus helps them a whole lot. The only thing you hear are the tires. They’re great. I’m happy to drive them, hoping we get more of these in the districts everywhere, because these things help, they’re here for everybody, all the kids.”

Demand for zero-emission school buses has been growing. In 2022, requests for 182 electric school buses were waitlisted for federal grants and the proposed supplemental budget will help fill this gap enabling school districts across the state to make a transition to clean buses for their students. 


Environmental Priorities Coalition is made up of 27 statewide environmental organizations working to safeguard the environment and the health of its communities through policy and budget advocacy at the Washington State Legislature. Every year, the Coalition comes together to select priorities to advance during the legislative session.