Clean Vehicles, Clean Fuels, Clean Air, Clean Cities!

Archive for May, 2018

Under Pressure from Environmental Groups, Illinois EPA Announces More Public Hearings for VW Settlement Funding

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

CHICAGO, May 16, 2018 – Last week, under pressure from environmental groups, the Illinois EPA (IEPA) announced it would host three additional public outreach sessions on its draft plan to use the state’s $108 million allocation as part of the Volkswagen diesel scandal settlement.

The Illinois EPA has posted a Draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan detailing its proposal to spend 65 percent of funds on locomotive and non-road projects. CACC believes this allocation towards locomotives is disproportionate to NOx emissions sources in our region. IEPA’s own studies show that diesel emissions from locomotives only account for three percent of emissions in the Cook County, while emissions from the on-road diesel vehicles such as commercial trucks and buses are responsible for 29 percent of NOx emissions.

The new public hearings will be held in the evening from 6 – 8 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Wednesday, May 23, Illinois EPA Headquarters (North Entrance), Sangamo Conference Room, 1000 East Converse, Springfield
  • Thursday, May 24, St. Paul Baptist Church, 1500 Bond Avenue, St. Louis
  • Wednesday, May 30, James R. Thompson Center, Auditorium, 100 West Randolph, Chicago

“‪Chicago Area Clean Cities and its stakeholders support an open process for consideration of Illinois’ $108 million share of the VW Settlement,” said John Walton, chair, Chicago Area Clean Cities. “This has not been an open process, and so far, most of the IEPA’s process has taken place behind closed doors. There should be hearings that are transparent like in other states. There are many experts on clean transportation whose voices should be heard.”

Another example of the lack of transparency, said Walton, is survey results asking for public comment about the IEPA’s plan have not been made public. “Those results should be made public immediately,” Walton said.

This is the third part of a record $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal. According to the agreement and a mitigation trust fund that was established, $2.7 billion is being allocated to individual states, based on the number of affected Volkswagen owners, to use as the states see fit. The State of Illinois’ share of the settlement is $108 million.

“The $108 million could serve as a catalyst to reduce pollution and spur economic development in Illinois over the next 10 years.” Walton added. “We suspect that options for using the funding in the wisest manner have not yet been examined. The IEPA, as appointed by the governor to oversee this fund, seems to have a plan that hasn’t yet been fully vetted.”

Recently, the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 3101 that would make it a law to have an oversight committee decide how the $108 million for Illinois is to be spent. The bill has been sent to the House. Chicago Area Clean Cities supports that bill, Walton said.

“The final plan should rely on the best way to reduce pollution per dollar spent, and an oversight committee should oversee the decision-making process,” Walton said. “We hope the IEPA will listen and incorporate the feedback it hears from the public, environmental groups, and clean-transportation experts on how the VW funding should be spent in Illinois.”

The IEPA’s initial window for public input was February 28 to April 20, 2018, while other states have allowed for up to a year of public hearings on how their share of the total $2.7 billion would be spent.

“In addition to reducing pollution, this money should be spent in Illinois,” Walton said. “There are dozens of Illinois businesses that specialize in clean-vehicle technologies, conversions, and alternative fuels. Spending large portions of this money with companies outside of Illinois is not a good solution to help economic development in Illinois.”

IEPA’s VW Settlement webpage, available at www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/air-quality/vw-settlement/index, includes information on the Agency’s Draft BMP and other aspects of the VW Settlement. Public comments on the draft plan should be sent to EPA.VWSettlement@illinois.gov.

Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC) is a nonprofit coalition whose mission over the last 24 years has been to support local actions to improve the environmental performance and efficiency of public and private fleets in the six-county Chicago metro area. CACC’s membership is comprised of local governments, corporations, small businesses, and individuals. These stakeholders come together to share information and resources, educate the public, help craft public policy, and collaborate on projects that reduce pollution.In 2016, CACC stakeholders reduced more than 26 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) of petroleum and 230,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions from 3,100 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline.

CACC is one of more than 90 coalitions across the country that are affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which brings together stakeholders to increase the use of alternative fuel and advanced-vehicle technologies, reduce idling, and improve fuel economy and air quality. CACC concentrates its efforts on educating businesses and municipalities in the six-county Chicago area, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. To become involved or learn more about the coalition visit www.chicagocleancities.org.

 

News Media Contact:   

Joe Koenig
(708) 613-5005

Major Green Fleet Conference Hosted in Naperville by Clean Cities

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

CHICAGO, May 10, 2018 – Three Midwestern Clean Cities coalitions are hosting a major Chicago-area green technology conference on May 17.

The Lake Michigan Consortium – a partnership between Clean Cities coalitions from Chicago, Wisconsin and Northern Indiana – will host the 2018 Green Drives Conference and Expo at Northern Illinois University’s Conference Center in Naperville, Illinois.

“At Green Drives, we connect the people and technologies that help make sustainable transportation a reality,” said John Walton, chair of Chicago Area Clean Cities. “As one of the largest events of its kind in the Midwest, this conference is a great opportunity to learn about electric vehicles, alternative fuels, charging and fueling infrastructure, as well as funding and incentive programs to help green your fleet.

“In 2017, more than 40 percent of our attendees were representatives from commercial and governmental fleets,” Walton added.

Speakers and highlights of this year’s program include:

  • John Davis, the Emmy Award-winning host of “MotorWeek,” television’s longest-running automotive series.
  • John Boesel, president and CEO, CALSTART.
  • Dean Stapleton, senior manager, alternative fuels, Penske Truck Leasing.
  • Doyle Sumrall, managing director, NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry.
  • Adam Goldstein, managing partner and chief technical officer for North American Operations, STAG USA.
  • Julie Furber, executive director, electrification business, Cummins.
  • Richard D. Cupka Jr., sustainability and Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) program manager, commercial vehicles, Ford Motor Company.
  • Susan Keenehan, regional director, North Central Region, General Motors Fleet.
  • Advanced technologies, electric vehicles and alternative fuels will be showcased, including three-dozen green vehicles and 20 indoor exhibitors.
  • An alternative-fuel-vehicle ride-and-drive will be held.
  • Businesses and municipalities will discuss how they went green with their fleets and saved money!

“Green Drives showcases fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technologies for commercial, governmental and consumer use,” said Carl Lisek, executive director of South Shore Clean Cities, which serves Northern Indiana. “It also shines the spotlight on fleets in the tristate region that operate using clean-burning fuels. Attendees will hear first-hand experiences from fleet managers who are using natural gas, propane, electric vehicles, and other petroleum-reduction strategies.”

At the conference, the leaders of the three coalitions will also offer updates on funding opportunities and incentives that make clean transportation more affordable.

“Whether you are a small or large business, a fleet administrator, a dealer principal, a fuel supplier, a conversion company or work in clean technology and clean energy, there will be topics of interest and networking opportunities for you at Green Drives,” said Lorrie Lisek, executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities. “We understand the challenges of busy schedules and budget constraints. This one-day event provides attendees with all of the benefits of a multi-day conference in a central location to make it more accessible to a larger audience.”

NIU’s Conference Center is located at 1120 East Diehl Road, Naperville, IL 60563. To register for tickets, or sponsor the event, visit https://2018greendrives.eventbrite.com.

About the Lake Michigan Consortium

The Lake Michigan Consortium is comprised of three Clean Cities Coalitions: Chicago Area Clean Cities, South Shore Clean Cities and Wisconsin Clean Cities. The three nonprofit coalitions are focused on promoting cleaner energy for private and public fleets in the Chicago area, Wisconsin and Northern Indiana.

Created in 1999, the consortium is made up of more than 500 member organizations. It serves a geographic population of nearly 16 million people with 11 counties that hold non-attainment status for the U.S. EPA 2008 Ground Ozone standard.

The trio of coalitions holds numerous outreach events and trainings aimed at educating the public, fleets, and automotive technicians. There are nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions across the country affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which brings together stakeholders to increase the use of alternative fuel and advanced-vehicle technologies, reduce idling and improve fuel economy and air quality. To become involved, visit www.ChicagoCleanCities.org, www.wicleancities.org, and www.southshorecleancities.org.

 

News Media Contact:   

Joe Koenig
(708) 613-5005

 

Chicago Science Expo to Feature Electric Vehicle Test Drives

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

CHICAGO, May 8, 2018 – Consumers attending the Illinois Science Council’s (ISC) Chicago Science Expo 2018 will have the chance to test-drive all-new electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles on May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Vehicles available for the outdoor test-drives include the all-new 2018 Nissan LEAF, new 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, and new 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. The test-drives are being hosted by the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition, a nonprofit coalition focused on clean-transportation solutions for the six-county Chicago area, and are made possible via the American Lung Association’s Midwest EVOLVE program.

“If you’ve wondered what it’s like to drive an electric car, this is your chance to get behind the wheel,” said Samantha Bingham, coordinator, Chicago Area Clean Cities. “We’re offering free test-drives of some of the newest, best-performing electric and hybrid vehicles. For many, this will be the first time they’ve had the chance to check out the great performance and environmental benefits of electric vehicles.”

Consumers who would like to test-drive vehicles should attend the Chicago Science Expo and register at the Chicago Area Clean Cities table on the Merchandise Mart’s South driveway. The Merchandise Mart is located at 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654.

A solar electric car, two Formula race cars (electric and combustion), and a Baja car (combustion) will also on display. These cars are designed and built for competitions by student engineering teams from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The race cars are available for viewing (not test-drives) and student engineers will be on hand to answer questions. More information and photos of the race cars are at  http://bit.ly/ScienceFestCarShow.

Midwest EVOLVE, a partnership between the American Lung Association and Clean Cities coalitions in seven Midwestern states, emphasizes the clean-air advantages, cost-savings, and performance of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Midwest EVOLVE is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), under Award Number DE-EE0007743. To learn more, visit www.midwestevolve.org or follow Midwest EVOLVE on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC) is a nonprofit coalition focused on promoting clean-energy and clean-air solutions for transportation in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. CACC is one of more than 90 coalitions across the country affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which brings together stakeholders to increase the use of alternative fuels and advanced-vehicle technologies, reduce idling, and improve fuel efficiency and air quality. CACC concentrates its efforts on educating businesses and municipalities in the six-county Chicago area, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The coalition also is a partner in Midwest EVOLVE, a seven-state project to educate consumers about the clean-air and performance advantages of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles. To get involved, visit ChicagoCleanCities.org.

Illinois Science Council (ISC) is an independent 501c3 organization that engages, educates, and entertains the adult public about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in our everyday lives. ISC showcases the scientists and research of the Chicago-area institutions and companies that make Chicago our nation’s true “City of Science.” ISC serves as the science and tech complement to the region’s arts and culture offerings by raising understanding and appreciation of STEM subjects. Science Expo Day on May 12 is part of ISC’s 4th annual Chicago Science Festival, a full week of events for the ‘science curious.’ Follow Illinois Science Council on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn, and Chicago Science Fest at ChicagoScienceFest.org and #ChiSciFest2018.

 

News Media Contacts:

Monica Metzler
(773) 848-8993

Joe Koenig
(708) 613-5005