GUEST COMMENTARY: Celebrating a successful, sustainable 2018

Our members’ spirit of innovation and optimism positions us to continue to develop sustainable transportation and energy-related solutions for the region, state and the nation.

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By Carl Lisek, South Shore Clean Cities Executive Director

How do you define success? For South Shore Clean Cities, our success is measured by our members’ successes.

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Because transportation accounts for nearly 75 percent of all U.S. petroleum consumption, improving efficiency and reducing costs in this sector supports our economy and our energy security.

South Shore Clean Cities engages our members, partners and stakeholders in sustainable transportation and education programs that reduce environmental impact, thereby creating a healthier environment. Our members’ spirit of innovation and optimism positions us to continue to develop sustainable transportation and energy-related solutions for the region, state and the nation.

South Shore Clean Cities was honored to be recognized last month at the National Clean Cities Coordinators Training in Florida for having the most education and outreach events in 2018 of any of the nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions nationwide. We are thankful for the recognition, which really reflects the support of our members and partners as attendees, presenters, hosts and sponsors.

Our favorite events involve celebrating the successes of our members, which happened frequently in 2018. In February 2018, we honored our members for their sustainable transportation efforts at our annual meeting and awards. Collectively, South Shore Clean Cities members displaced more than 16.8 million gasoline gallon equivalents. Their actions are equal to removing 32,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year. Their successes are creating cleaner air, increased national energy security, local jobs and a more sustainable Region. We’re thankful for their commitment to our mission.

We were honored to stand side-by-side with our member the City of Hobart as officials there unveilved their new compressed natural gas fueling station and maintenance garage. The project was made possible in part through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant funding from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) and acquired in cooperation with SSCC with project support from our member Ozinga.

We also celebrated with our member Jack Gray Transport, Inc. of Gary when they received new clean diesel trucks funded in part by an Indiana Department of Environmental Management DieselWise grant and acquired in partnership with SSCC. Our member Dunes Learning Center also celebrated its new propane-powered school bus for use in transporting students participating in its environmental education programs. That project was made possible in part through a grant in partnership with Dunes Learning Center, SSCC and the Regional Development Authority. The BlueBird Vision propane bus was deisnged, engineered and manufactured by ROUSH CleanTech and purchased from MacAllister Transportation in Indianapolis, all of which are SSCC members.

The year was also busy with issues pertaining to the Indiana Volkswagen Mitigation Trust as well, including attending public meetings and partnering with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to present informational meetings with and for our members and partners. We’re looking forward to Indiana opening solicitations for projects in 2019, to working with our members and partners to maximize the impact of the settlement dollars and to celebrating those successes in the new year. 

We will begin our 20th anniversary celebration at our Annual Meeting & Awards Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 at the Blue Chip Stardust Event Center in Michigan City, where more than 300 sustainable transportation leaders and decision makers will gather to celebrate our members’ efforts and contributions to a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable region. Registration is open and exhibit booths and sponsorship opportunities are available. To learn more, go to www.southshorecleancities.org or call (219) 644-3690.

Remember, it’s never too late to being your environmental legacy.

This column originally appeared in The Times of Northwest Indiana. Carl Lisek is executive director of South Shore Clean Cities and vice president of LegacyEnvironmental Services. The opinions are the writer’s.

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