The Lafayette Consolidated Government has been working to convert public vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas. The LCG already has five new buses that the public will start seeing around town. The city-parish government also has a contract to convert 40 additional city vehicles, and is building a CNG station with a grant received from the Department of Natural Resources.

The grant requires that the station be available to the public, so interested motorists will have a place to fill up their vehicle. LCG is working closely with Apache Corporation, which has graciously donated equipment to the city, to fill the buses until this new station is complete. Apache is also strongly considering the construction of a station in Lafayette.

As an innovative community, Lafayette is taking it a few steps further. The LCG administration is working with other public entities who have fleets in Lafayette, as well as private sector companies, to to encourage more CNG use.  City-Parish President Joey Durel notes, "When I started looking at this possibility, several positives quickly came to mind, starting with my legal responsibility to the people that elected me. First, we can save money, not a bad starting point. Next, in my opinion, CNG supports an industry important to our community, our region and our state. Third, it is our best opportunity to contribute to the 'clean' energy initiative. A side effect is our reduced dependency on oil from foreign countries that don’t agree with U.S. policies. With all of these positives, it was not a difficult decision."

Durel also notes that Lafayette was recently recognized for LCG's lead role in this effort when he moderated a panel at the annual National Association of Counties in Portland, where CNG conversion was the key topic. Durel says, "It’s nice to be recognized for the leadership Lafayette is showing."

This article was adapted from Joey Durel's newsletter.  To subscribe, visit his website.

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