MICHIGAN CITY — South Shore Clean Cities members — who include many businesses, municipal governments and organizations across northern Indiana — reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 113,000 tons in 2017.
Various businesses and cities throughout the Region were able to collectively displace more than 18.3 million gallons of gasoline in the most recent year for which data is available, the equivalent of taking more than 34,500 passenger vehicles off the road.
South Shore Clean Cities, the sustainable transportation group that manages the Green Fleet programs for the Michiana Area Council of Governments and the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, honored their environmental successes at its annual meeting and awards ceremony at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City Tuesday.
"The dedication of our members to improving the quality of life in northern Indiana through sustainable practices continues to amaze and inspire me," South Shore Clean Cities Executive Director Carl Lisek said. "The award winners are supporting domestic fuels, protecting national energy security and local jobs, promoting economic development and contributing to improved air quality, all while improving the bottom line of their operations. I congratulate them on their accomplishments."
South Shore Clean Cities awarded its 2018 Member of the Year Award to Fair Oaks Farms, for reducing the most greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the year. Runners-up included Family Express Corp. of Valparaiso and Ozinga, which has a large footprint across Northwest Indiana.
The 2018 NIRPC Green Fleet Member of the Year was awarded to the city of Michigan City for its commitment to sustainable practices. South Shore Clean Cities recognized its board member Jennifer Sanders, who's also the public information manager for Envirotest Systems of Crown Point. She was named the 2018 Empowering Woman of the Year, an honor that "recognizes a woman affiliated with South Shore Clean Cities who is passionate about sustainable transportation solutions and has demonstrated measurable impacts related to her efforts."
"We have ambitious goals and are proud of our accomplishments," Lisek said. "We're promoting fuel efficiency and reducing petroleum use while bringing quality economic development and local jobs to Northern Indiana."
The group has, for instance, helped establish Interstate 94 through Indiana as an alternative fuel corridor, where there are electric charging stations and filling station with compressed natural gas and propane autogas.
"It's now an alternative fuel corridor where you can drive all the way from Michigan to Montana and have no range anxiety," Lisek said. "We are working to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. People ask me all the time how you eat an elephant. You do it one bite at a time."
Indiana also has $41 million from the Volkswagen emissions scandal settlement that can be used to reduce diesel emissions.
"The future's so bright we have to wear sunglasses," Lisek said.