For Immediate Release
Connecticut U.S. Senator Blumenthal Praises Clean Cities and D.C. Fuels & Vehicles Expo
Washington, D.C. – May 19, 2012) — U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is praising the work of the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC) and its 2012 Alternative Fuels & Advanced Technology Vehicles Expo set for Tuesday.
The one-day exposition will be hosted by Washington Gas at the utility’s new Springfield Center in Springfield, VA. Washington Gas is a member of the GWRCCC, which covers the District of Columbia and adjacent counties in Virginia and Maryland. The mission of the coalition is to reduce the region’s dependence on petroleum as a transportation fuel.
Senator Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was scheduled to be a speaker at the Expo. However, he had to cancel his appearance because his presence was required at the Capitol for work on two important Department of Defense measures. The senator’s staff passed along his regrets to Clean Cities officials, but he also prepared a video message stating regret for the scheduling conflict, and praising the work of Clean Cities groups, in Washington, D.C., as well as in his home state. He also stressed the importance of alternative fuel technologies and reduced dependence on petroleum. He said the need for petroleum has impacts that stretch from America’s highways to foreign battlefields and the lives of American soldiers.
Senator Blumenthal has long been a proponent of clean fuels and sustainable energy initiatives in his home state of Connecticut and nationally. His record, in the U.S. Senate and during his 20-year tenure as attorney general for Connecticut, shows he has led, or soldiered in, numerous efforts to protect the nation’s environment, and even the federal Clean Air Act itself. As attorney general, he raised national awareness of interstate air pollution and petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to harness out-of-state pollution sources. In another instance he filed suit to prevent changes to the Clean Air Act he said would exempt thousands of industrial pollution sources from the act’s New Source Review provision. Senator Blumenthal has also been an ally of Clean Cities Coalitions, of which there are four in Connecticut.
“He seems to think, like many of us in Connecticut, that there are usually good alternatives to petroleum,” said Lee Grannis, longtime coordinator for the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition. “We feel that alternatively fueling vehicles is the best way to reduce toxic fumes in our air, to achieve American energy independence and to help create jobs in what is largely an American-based technology sector. Senator Blumenthal has been there for us as we marked one success after another in Connecticut.”
Senator Blumenthal graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and at Yale Law School was a classmate of future President Bill Clinton. He co-edited the Yale Law Journal with current U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He served in the U.S. Marine Reserves (1970-76), and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as U.S. Attorney for Connecticut (1977-81). He served in the state’s House and then Senate, before being elected Attorney General and re-elected four times (1991-2011). He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, launching his candidacy after fellow Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd announced his retirement. Sen. Blumenthal holds committee seats on the Senate’s panels for Armed Services, Judiciary, Aging and Health, Labor and Pensions, and Education.
The May 22 Expo will be the place to gain the latest information on current alternative fuels and the vehicles that use them. Leading technologies designed to compete with gasoline-powered and diesel-powered engines will be exhibited for the public to see, touch, smell, and, in some cases, drive. Displayed vehicles will range from personal automobiles, to military and commercial transport vehicles, to Class 8 tractors and transit buses.
In addition to vehicle displays, the Expo will feature informational sessions of interest to vehicle fleet managers, policymakers, emergency first responders, students or the general, motoring public. A lengthy list of informational breakout sessions includes local, regional, state and federal officials discussing the impact of various government policies on alternative fuels and vehicles usage, and one in which industry experts consider the status of the market now for alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), and project on future opportunities. In another, AFV manufacturers and managers of commercial AFV fleets will compare the different fuels and discuss their properties and best applications.
The daylong event will include dozens of exhibitors, with booths displaying and explaining non-petroleum answers to issues facing on- and off-road vehicle fleets, as well as their maintenance and garage operations. Expo visitors may tour Washington Gas’s new Springfield Center, which the utility anticipates will receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s gold-level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The architecture maximizes use of natural light and air movement, and a stationary hydrogen fuel cell produces a third of the power for the complex.
The Expo begins with registration and Continental breakfast Tuesday from 7:30-9 a.m., and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. visitors may take in the displays and participate in the breakout sessions they choose. Exhibitor booths and vehicles (which may be viewed until 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively) will be positioned throughout the Springfield Center’s grounds located at: Washington Gas, 6801 Industrial Road, Springfield, VA 22151.
Online registration for the Expo is open at www.CleanCitiesEventsDC.com/expo.
This is an opportunity for the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC) and Washington Gas, according to GWRCCC Executive Director Ronald S. Flowers. “There is now fast growing interest in the use of alternative fuels to help resolve some of the nation’s economic and environmental concerns,” he said. “Our broadly inclusive Expo will help those who now manage alternative fuel fleets, will educate fleet owners just considering fuels other than gasoline or diesel, will inform accident first responders about the particulars in AFV crashes, and will interest the public, policy makers and more.”
The GWRCCC has assembled a panel of alternative fuel experts for the Expo to discuss how the industry has changed this decade, and what this year may hold. Transportation industry representatives of alternative fuels Natural Gas, Propane, Electricity, Biodiesel, Hydrogen and Ethanol will make presentations and answer questions. “It’s one of our ways of keeping citizens informed,” Flowers said. “Never before has the Greater Washington Region had an opportunity to see so many transportation options utilizing clean fuels — right here and now.”
In addition to one-hour breakout sessions on each of the six alternative fuels, the Expo includes two special sessions designed specifically for emergency First Responders. The sessions instruct firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians and others about the intricacies of accident response when a particular alternative fuel vehicle is involved. Pupils will get the basics on all current AFVs and have the spectrum of cutting-edge vehicle technologies there at the Expo for use during hands-on instruction. Manufacturers, operators, experts and veteran first responders will contribute to the training, and participants will be able to ask questions and share experiences.