Laidlaw Transit to Provide Clean School Buses

SAN FRANCISCO (August 6, 2008) Environmental Law Foundation, Our Children’s Earth and Communities for a Better Environment, three Bay Area environmental organizations, and Laidlaw Transit, Inc. agreed to a settlement of a lawsuit, under which Laidlaw will provide California’s school children with newer and cleaner buses.

Under this agreement, Laidlaw will invest a minimum of $4.7 million dollars over the next five years to continue retrofitting buses in its California fleet that are more than five years old with air pollution control devices to reduce diesel exhaust. In addition, Laidlaw will make substantial investments in its fleet over the next seven years by either retrofitting additional buses or purchasing new buses that meet the most stringent air pollution standards in the country.

“This agreement shows that Laidlaw Transit, Inc. and its parent, First Group America, Inc., are committed to protecting public health and the environment and going above and beyond the requirements of the law,” said FirstGroup America spokesperson Glenda Lamont.

“This is a great step forward for public health and the environment. This case provides a great example of the benefits the voters intended when they passed Proposition 65,” said Mike Costa of Our Children’s Earth.

Various state, federal and international agencies agree that diesel exhaust is potentially dangerous and should be avoided. California limits exposure to diesel exhaust on school buses through an “anti-idling law” that minimizes the amount of time children are exposed to it. However, the agreement reached today goes further by reducing the amount of diesel exhaust the buses generate.

“This is a win-win for children, the environment and Laidlaw’s ongoing operations in California,” stated Shana Lazerow, attorney for Communities for a Better Environment.

“With this agreement, Laidlaw is showing that it is possible to provide clean buses to California’s school children. We hope all of the other bus operators follow Laidlaw’s lead,” said Jim Wheaton of the Environmental Law Foundation.

Baron & Budd represented the environmental groups in this litigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other authoritative studies have shown that riding a school bus is safer than taking private transportation, walking or riding a bike to school.

For more information about the foundations and Laidlaw, please see these web links:

Environmental Law Foundation: www.envirolaw.org
Our Children’s Earth Foundation: www.ocefoundation.org
Communities for a Better Environment: www.cbecal.org
Laidlaw Transit, Inc., a member of the FirstGroup America, Inc. companies: www.firstgroup.com

Press Contacts

Baron & Budd P.C.
Susan Jones Knape
214.629.0596

Environmental Law Foundation
James Wheaton
510.208.4555

Communities for a Better Environment
Shana Lazerow
510.302.0430 ext. 18

Our Children’s Earth Foundation
Mike Costa
415.342.0042

About Baron & Budd, P.C.

For more than 30 years, the law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. has championed the rights of people and communities harmed by corporate misconduct. With more than 50 attorneys and offices in California, Texas and Louisiana, Baron & Budd enjoys a national reputation as a leader of the plaintiffs’ bar. The firm represents individuals with mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos; injuries caused by other toxic substances and unsafe pharmaceuticals; water authorities seeking clean-up costs for drinking water contamination; government entities and whistleblowers fighting corporate fraud through qui tam and False Claims Act cases; securities investors defrauded by corporate wrongdoing; and consumers in class actions.