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Coalition Holds Lobby Day, Debuts Awards for NGV Champions

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Coalition board members met with 25 key California legislators and honored a trio of NGV industry champions for its Legislative Lobby Day and first annual awards presentation, held May 10–11 in Sacramento.

Educating legislators and their staff about the NGV industry, and the technologies and benefits of natural gas vehicles, was the main purpose of the event, said Thomas Lawson, Coalition president.

“We visited staff members of both houses on the transportation and appropriations committees to provide background on the benefits of natural gas for policy discussions, including how government funding should be spent on clean transportation to be most cost effective,” said Lawson.

Informing legislators about the technology was important as well. Many of the assembly members, senators, and staffers didn’t know that NGVs can significantly reduce air pollution in their districts right away, said José R. Castañeda, board member and director of business development for Cummins Westport.

“People were surprised by how effective current technology is in cleaning up the air quickly,” said Castañeda. “It’s important that legislators understand that natural gas technology is clean, reliable, and available today, while many other alternative clean technologies have yet to be proven in the marketplace.”

Castañeda noted that as CARB moves toward setting specific air-standard goals and away from mandating certain technologies, he hopes that policymakers will include natural gas as part of their plans for reducing emissions.

Drumroll for NGV Industry Champions

For the first time, the Coalition honored leaders of the NGV industry who have been instrumental in advocacy, legislation, and technology.

NGV Advocate of the Year honors were awarded to Julia Levin, executive director of the Bioenergy Association of California, and Johannes Escudero, CEO and executive director of the RNG Coalition, for their work on the passage of SB 1383, the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) bill that mandates the use of RNG as a solution for reducing emissions in California.

Cummins Westport received the NGV Technology Leader of the Year award for its development of 8.9-liter and 11.9-liter low-NOx natural gas engines for heavy-duty trucks.

The Coalition named Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia NGV Legislator of the Year for authoring AB 2415, the California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program, and AB 197, which created a legislative committee on climate change policies to guide CARB’s spending decisions. The Coalition also recognized Garcia for his leadership on SB 32, which extends California’s greenhouse gas emission targets and Low Carbon Fuel Standard to 2030, and on AB 1613, which appropriated $150 million for the heavy-duty truck sector from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

“The award recipients have made significant progress for our industry and the state of California,” said Lawson. “They all know that natural gas and RNG are important transportation fuels for meeting air quality goals, they know what to do to get us there, and they do it.”

The Coalition plans to make Legislative Lobby Day and the awards program annual events.

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Photo: Coalition President Thomas Lawson, far left, at the Coalition’s first awards presentation. Other attendees included Sean Moen of ReFuel Energy Partners (back, second from left), State Treasurer John Chiang (front, third from left), Dan Goodwin of American Power Group (back, third from left), Mitch Pratt of Clean Energy Fuels (center), Seung Baik of Agility Fuel Systems (front, third from right), and Allison Smith of SoCalGas (far right).