Thursday, July 2, 2009

Small Town Goes Natural Gas

By A.J. Carter

Continuing its efforts at reducing its carbon footprint and the amount of harmful emissions from trucks by requiring garbage trucks to convert to compressed natural gas, the Town of Huntington announces it has agreed to a new public-private partnership to assure that the fuel can be supplied at a convenient place and at a stable price.

By partnering once again with Smithtown, its longtime partner in solid waste disposal, the two towns provided enough of a market to convince a private operator to construct a compressed natural gas fueling station at Smithtown’s recycling facility at no cost to either town and with a long-term price guarantee.

The agreement will allow the town to implement its initiative requiring all garbage trucks in the town to be fueled by compressed natural gas, a move that will reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides and fine diesel particulates into Long Island’s air by more than 264 tons over the next seven years.

“Changing our contract garbage truck fleet over from diesel fuel to compressed natural gas will reap major benefits for the people of Huntington,” supervisor Frank Petrone said. “We estimate that over the life of our contract that we’ll displace two million gallons of foreign oil, and we’ll do that while achieving major air quality improvements in our neighborhoods and protecting our residents from the costs of an unstable oil market.”

At its meeting this week the Smithtown Town Board is expected to approve a contract with Clean Energy of Seal Beach, Calif., to build the fueling station in Kings Park, near the Huntington Resource Recovery Facility. Clean Energy ( has agreed to guarantee both the availability and price of compressed natural gas at the station. Clean Energy is the nation’s largest supplier of natural gas for motor vehicle fuel with over one hundred and seventy fueling stations in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and New York. Clean Energy is under contract to operate nine high volume CNG fueling stations for the New York State Clean Fueled Vehicles Program.

“CNG fuel will be less prone to the price spikes and shortages that we’re seeing in the diesel market. Over ninety-five percent of the natural gas consumed in this country comes from North America. In comparison, eighty-five percent of the oil consumed in New York comes from increasingly hostile locations overseas, so there are energy security and financial stability benefits as well,” Petrone said.

Converting its contract garbage collection fleet to compressed natural gas is a further extension of Huntington’s commitment to going green.

Huntington currently has 14 hybrid vehicles, 11 flex fuel vehicles, is purchasing two compressed natural gas garbage trucks, is retrofitting two existing garbage trucks to run on compressed natural gas and recently took delivery of a hybrid street lighting truck and six Mini E electric vehicles. The town also recently adopted the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which urges federal and state governments to enact policies and programs that reduce global warming pollution levels.

A.J. Carter is the public information officer for the Town of Huntington.

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