American Lung Association Recognizes Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman as a Clean Vehicle Champion

WASHINGTON DC (06/10/2010)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association announced on June 10 that Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Michael Coleman is the recipient of its Clean Vehicle Champion Award for his work to promote the use of clean vehicles and healthier air. The award was announced at a reception co-sponsored by the American Lung Association during the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Oklahoma City, OK.

Mayor Coleman was nominated by local Lung Association volunteers. A national jury of volunteers selected Mayor Coleman for the award.

"In January of 2005, Mayor Coleman launched the 'Get Green Columbus' initiative to ensure a healthier environment for the citizens of Columbus," said Derick T. Asah, RCP, RRT, a volunteer at the American Lung Association of the Midland States. "The initiative was the framework to make a healthier city while ensuring economic development. But Mayor Coleman went even further. He involved officials from twelve local jurisdictions in the Central Ohio Green Pact to incorporate these strategies in surrounding communities. One of the strategies in both of these initiatives was to improve air quality."

Mayor Coleman's greatest accomplishment in reducing air pollution has come from the Green Fleet Action Plan which was issued in January of 2008. The plan reduces pollution through fuel reduction strategies including an anti-idling policy, the use of biodiesel and compressed natural gas, grants for emissions reductions and purchasing cleaner vehicles, and language in bid specifications that gives preference to hybrids, flex fuel, CNG, and other "green" vehicles.

Mayor Coleman and his Green Fleet Action Plan have already been successful in accomplishing many of their goals, which include retrofitting of all the city's on-road diesel trucks, purchasing clean biodiesel for 62% of its bulk diesel purchases and the city has purchased and uses approximately 250 flex fuel vehicles and two hybrid vehicles, and it was awarded funding for five hybrid heavy duty vehicles. Through "right-sizing" vehicles-ensuring that the duty requirements of a vehicle match the smallest possible vehicle for the task-over 65 vehicles have been replaced with smaller, more fuel-efficient models.

"Mayor Coleman's dedication to green fleets has even inspired corporate fleets to also 'go green,' " said Asah. "For example, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Columbus has switched its fleet to 327 hybrid electric tractor trailers, the largest such fleet in North America. Mayor Coleman has been such a tireless champion and made such sustained progress that Columbus' green fleet has already won many awards.

They include the Top 40 Government Green Fleet Winner for 2009: the Fleet Environmental Leadership award for 2009 presented to Mayor Coleman in Chicago by Bobit Publishing at a Green Fleet Conference, and the 2009 Public Servant award from the Ohio Environmental Council for green fleet initiatives.