County's Green Initiatives

The Oct. 20 Montgomery Notebook included an item about a memo from County Administrator Bruce Romer that provided energy-saving tips for drivers of county vehicles.

To set the record straight, Mr. Romer drives a smaller, more fuel-efficient Ford Explorer (not a Ford Expedition, as described in the item) that runs on fuel that is 85 percent ethanol, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Romer can gas up his vehicle at the county's own ethanol fuel station, one of only three such stations open to the public in Maryland.

Second, contrary to the report that "Romer's memo never mentioned . . . driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle," Mr. Romer's memo actually urged employees to "use the more energy conserving vehicle" if their office had a choice of cars.

Montgomery County is leading by example in purchasing cleaner, more energy-efficient fleet vehicles as part of the county's Air Quality Protection Strategy to reduce harmful emissions. The county is using nearly 225 alternative-fuel cars, buses, vans and trucks, including ones that run on compressed natural gas, a gasoline-ethanol blend, and hybrid gasoline-electric and diesel-electric power.

The county is committed to replacing the oldest and dirtiest diesel buses in our fleet with the cleanest alternatively fueled vehicles available. That's why, by the end of the year, one-third of the bus fleet will be powered by alternative fuels. Of the 29 administrative vehicles that will be purchased this fiscal year, 22 (or more than 75 percent) will run on alternative fuels.

Montgomery County was the first jurisdiction in the region to establish a "code red/ride free" policy, which provides free bus trips during the worst ozone days, and challenged others to follow suit. We did this because it makes sense environmentally and economically. Montgomery County will continue to lead the way in adopting even more environmentally friendly technologies.

James A. Caldwell

Director, Montgomery

County Department of

Environmental Protection