WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced today that Greyhound Lines, Inc. will be required to make company-wide policy changes to reduce air pollution and will prohibit excessive bus idling nationwide as part of a settlement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The company will also pay a $125,000 penalty to the District for allowing buses to idle at Union Station for longer than the District’s legal limit. This settlement resolves a lawsuit over Greyhound’s violations of the District’s air pollution control law and failure to comply with multiple enforcement notices. Greyhound will also provide anti-idling to all of its drivers across the country, routine anti-idling reminders to all drivers via text messages and stickers in buses, provide specific training on the District’s air pollution regulations to drivers with routes to or from DC, and hire a supervisor to monitor anti-idling compliance at Union Station.
“Air pollution from excessive vehicle idling harms human health and contributes to premature deaths from heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory diseases every year,” said AG Racine. “Today’s settlement requires Greyhound to make changes to comply with the District’s environmental protection laws and reduce air pollution across the country. This resolution was possible thanks to our productive partnership with the Department of Energy and Environment, Director Tommy Wells, and his team. Together, we will monitor Greyhound’s compliance and will take action against other companies that pollute our air, land, water, and natural resources.”
Greyhound is a major bus company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Texas. It owns and operates buses that carry about 16 million passengers per year, through both its Greyhound and BoltBus brands. Greyhound-owned buses operate frequent service to and from Union Station.
Vehicle exhaust is the largest source of air pollution in the District and contributes to incidents of asthma, heart disease, and lung damage. It also pollutes the environment and contributes to global climate change and acid rain. To reduce emissions, the District adopted an air pollution control law and implemented regulations to limit gas- and diesel-powered vehicle idling to three minutes while parked, stopped, or standing. Penalties for violating the anti-idling regulations may include fines between $500 and $4,000 depending on the number violations.
A joint investigation by OAG and the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) found at least 54 instances where Greyhound buses idled their engines at Union Station well past the District’s legal limit, in some cases more than six times longer than legally allowed. In 2019, OAG filed suit against Greyhound alleging the company violated the District’s air pollution control law and engine idling regulations, and repeatedly ignored warnings from authorities.
Under the terms of the settlement, Greyhound will be required to:
- Revise company-wide idling policies: Greyhound will adopt and implement a revised anti-idling policy which bans bus drivers from idling their engines excessively across the country. The policy requires all buses to be immediately turned off when parked, with or without passengers on board, and it has been reviewed by DOEE. Bus operators may be disciplined for violating the new policy.
- Conduct nation-wide and District-specific anti-idling trainings: By July 31, 2020, Greyhound must train all active bus drivers on its anti-idling policy and will be required to provide anti-idling training to all new drivers within 30 days of hire. Current drivers on routes to or from the District of Columbia will receive mandatory one-on-one training about the District’s anti-idling law.
- Regularly remind drivers about the anti-idling policy: Greyhound will send regular text messages to all of its drivers and install stickers in all of its buses to remind drivers that engine idling is not allowed.
- Hire a full-time supervisor on site at Union Station: A full-time Greyhound supervisor on-site at Union Station will monitor bus activity, remind bus drivers of the District’s idling rules, and evaluate the effectiveness of Greyhound’s other measures to stop excessive idling. The supervisor will record incidences in which drivers require reminders, and the company will report these to DOEE on a quarterly basis.
- Pay the District of Columbia $125,000 in civil penalties: Greyhound admits to violations of the District’s anti-idling regulations alleged in OAG’s 2019 complaint and will pay $125,000 in civil penalties.
“DC DOEE is continuing to take enforcement actions to protect and improve the air quality for District residents,” said Director Tommy Wells. “We are also working hard to continue to reduce greenhouse gasses from fossil fuels that cause global warming. I’m proud our team is still hard at work during the health emergency.”
A copy of the consent order is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/Greyhound-Consent-Order.pdf
OAG’s Environmental Work
Over the past two years, OAG has devoted new resources to protecting the environment and the health and safety of District residents. OAG is deeply involved in the District’s ongoing cleanup of the Anacostia River and has joined numerous multistate lawsuits to stop the Trump administration from rolling back important environmental protections, such as auto emissions standards and Clean Water Act rules. The office is also focused on addressing persistent local environmental problems, especially those that affect low-income communities of color. Last year, the office filed suit against Ward 5 businesses that repeatedly spilled toxic oil onto sidewalks streets and into District waterways, and forced a landlord to clean up toxic lead paint. Earlier this month, the office announced a new suit against Monsanto Company for manufacturing, promoting, and selling toxic chemicals that it knew would pollute waterways, kill wildlife, and endanger District residents.