In the first full Idle-Free VT update since last February, here’s the latest on the issue of unnecessary vehicle idling in Vermont.
IDLE-FREE FOR FLEET$ PROJECT SEEKS GRANT
There are more than 20,000 commercial truck registrations in Vermont, more than 15,000 of which are diesels. These vehicles provide essential services and the transport of goods nationwide. But the downside is, Vermonters and Americans breathe diesel exhaust — which includes excessive idling — every day. Diesel exhaust is a serious public health issue. Excessive idling also costs companies thousands of dollars annually in wasted fuel and needless engine wear.
To educate fleet operators statewide in the benefits of avoiding excessive idling, Idle-Free VT has launched Idle-Free For Fleet$.
A grant is being proposed for this 15 month project, which will cover the preparation of an educational toolkit, PowerPoint presentation, contact and follow-up with 250 fleet managers, 50 presentations, and the training of community volunteers. Both company fleets and municipal fleets — with departments of public works and highway departments serving towns with populations over 2,500 — will be targeted. The project goal is for 20 Vermont fleet operators to adopt a formal (written) idling reduction policy.
While Idle-Free For Fleet$ will emphasize the successful one-on-one approach with fleet operators, communities will also be engaged by encouraging local volunteers — town energy committees and local organizations — to work with their town municipal fleets. They will be provided with toolkits and PowerPoint presentation document, and offered a training session and follow-up support. They will also be encouraged to go beyond municipal fleet policies – to lead community efforts to adopt no-idling resolutions or energy conservation policies, such as the towns of Brattleboro, Jericho, Middlebury, Putney, Richmond, Shelburne and others have done.
IDLE-FREE FOR FLEET$ LAUNCHES AT VTBA MEETING/CONVENTION
The Idle-Free For Fleet$ project launched with a presentation given by Wayne Michaud at the Vermont Truck and Bus Association (VTBA) annual convention at Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, VT on September 10. A 20 minute PowerPoint presentation given before approx. 35 VTBA members explained about the myths and realities of diesel idling, its impact on health, energy, climate change, and economics, and showcased companies that have already adopted idling reduction policies and how they benefit.
Prominent VTBA member, Edward Miller, Esq., spoke at the meeting and asked members, “What have we as an industry done on our own?” when it comes to reducing idling. He handed out a questionnaire on idling and expressed interest in members adopting policies.
Now that school is back in session, when it comes to idling, the focus is on two items:
1) Compliance of school buses with Vermont’s School Bus Idlng Rule. School buses are not to idle when loading and unloading students on school property, no exceptions. There is no temperature exemption that would allow for idling in this situation. Anyone with questions or concerns about possible Rule violations at a school should first contact the school’s principal. If not satisfied, the next step is to contact their school board or district. As a last resort, contact Cathy Hilgendorf, Schools Facilities Consultant at the Department of Education. She oversees the School Bus Idling Rule and can be contacted at (802) 828-5402 or Cathy.Hilgendorf@state.vt.us Idle-Free VT would also like to know about compliance issues: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Idling of vehicles other than school buses on school grounds. Vermont’s School Bus Idling Rule has an optional provision for the idling of vehicles other than school buses on school grounds which reads as: “VERMONT’S SCHOOL BUS IDLING RULE — Sec. 2. SCHOOL BOARDS; VEHICULAR IDLING: Nothing in this act or in department of education rules shall prevent a school board from adopting idling policies for motor vehicles other than school buses when present on school premises. By January 1, 2008, the department of education shall develop a model policy relating to idling of vehicles other than school buses to be distributed to schools for their use.” Here is the model policy.
ACTION ITEM: Please contact your school board or district and ask them to implement Sec. 2 of Vermont’s School Bus Idling Rule if they haven’t already done so.
VERMONT IDLE-FREE FLEETS STILL AVAILABLE IN SELECTED TOWNS
The American Lung Association’s Vermont Idle-Free Fleets, a DEC grant-funded program, is available to communities in 10 selected towns statewide. The ALA invites town energy committees and other community groups working on local environmental, energy conservation, and public health policy to apply for this no-cost, turnkey program to help reduce toxic emissions from unnecessary vehicle idling. The goal of VIFF is to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles, but communities can expand to reduce gasoline vehicle emissions in addition to diesel emissions.
VIFF offers the following to groups:
• Training and ongoing technical support: program recruitment, community outreach and presentation delivery.
• VIFF comprehensive toolkit: PowerPoint presentation that can be customized for your community, fact sheets, model policies, posters, templates for press releases, letters to the editor, and company newsletters. Materials will be provided to groups in hard copies and electronically.
• Signage that groups can distribute to facilities, towns and businesses to post no idling policies once adopted.
• Recognition of success of group and companies/businesses/communities that adopt idling reduction policies through website, press releases and certificates.
So far, Sustainable Woodstock is implementing VIFF in Woodstock, and several other towns are likely prospects.
But VIFF is still available for more towns to participate in! For more information on how your community can take advantage of this opportunity and apply for VIFF, visit the VECAN (Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network) website VIFF page. Interested groups should contact VIFF coordinator Amy Sayre, 802-876-6860 or email@example.com
IDLE-FREE VT WILL APPEAR AT MOVING PLANET EVENT IN MONTPELIER
On Saturday, September 24th at 2pm, Moving Planet, a coalition of businesses, non-profits, colleges and universities, and individuals concerned about global warming, will gather on the Statehouse lawn in Montpelier for the largest climate action event ever held in Vermont. This collaborative event – part of 350.org’s annual international day of climate action.
Idle-Free VT will have an information table at the Festival of Solutions under the category of Green Transportation for ALL from 2-3:30pm.
Hope to see you there!
IDLE-FREE VT FACEBOOK PAGE
As we know, social networking has become a vital communications tool. Please visit the Idle-Free VT Facebook Page where interesting posts can be viewed on the Wall. And while you’re there, please click the “Like” button — another way to help click off keys of idling vehicles.
To visit the Idle-Free VT Facebook Page, visit the Idle-Free VT website homepage and scroll down to and click on the Facebook “badge” like the one seen here.