Large Clean Fuels Ohio Delegation Participates in Annual Energy Independence Summit in Washington, D
Last week, Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) brought a large group of members to Washington, DC for meetings with members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation and additional key Congressional leaders and staffers. The day of meetings on Capitol Hill was the highlight of the 12th annual Energy Independence Summit (EIS) on February 12th to 14th. EIS is presented by Transportation Energy Partners (TEP).
(Pictured: CFO delegation meeting with Sarah Pearce (fifth from left), Legislative Aide to Senator Rob Portman)
Among the issues being discussed last week were the needs of alternative fuel businesses, the role of transit and their interest in alternative fuels, tax credits, job creation, domestic energy security and the environmental impacts of alternative fuel use.
A critical issue for most meetings was status of 24 Ohio vehicle replacement projects funded by the Ohio Diesel Emission Reduction Grant (DERG) program. DERG relies on Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) federal funding, which requires a waiver to Buy America rules, established to ensure 100% domestic steel content. Intended for bridge and road projects, vehicle replacement projects with federal funding always have received waivers since the DERG program began in 2006.
Jason Phillips, CFO’s Policy Director, will make a separate trip back to Washington on March 26 as part of a delegation organized by TEP that will meet with Brandye Hendrickson, Acting Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, where waivers for all 24 Ohio projects plus many more throughout the U.S. have been stuck. This situation is an extremely high priority for CFO because it directly impacts 24 fleet projects, including several involving CNG and propane vehicle replacements. Many of them are urgently needed school bus replacements.
Participating members in CFO’s group in DC last week included Central Ohio Transit Association, Vectren, Workhorse, Lindens Propane, CNG Pitstop, Benchmark Biodiesel, Evelocity and Yellow Cab.
“Joining Clean Fuels Ohio at the 2018 Energy Independence Summit allows COTA to provides a unique perspective of how public transportation benefits from federal policies and legislation that support our country’s alternative fuels industry,” said Laura Koprowski, Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategic External Communications, Central Ohio Transit Authority. “COTA operates more than 150 buses powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Our commitment to clean energy improves air quality in our community, protects public health, and creates economic prosperity in central Ohio.”
Clean Fuels Ohio’s Executive Director, Sam Spofforth, also serves as President of TEP. Spofforth made opening remarks at the Summit and helped host the event.
"We are excited that we have received such positive feedback from nearly the entire Ohio delegation," Executive Director Sam Spofforth commented. "We know from our discussions with our elected leaders that they are interested in working with us to help knock down existing barriers to the adoption of cleaner, domestically produced fuel. Our job is to help them identify these barriers and make recommendations regarding how to fix the problem."