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February 27, 2014

Baton Rouge Goes Green with Clean Natural Gas

In 2015, Baton Rouge streets will be a little greener, as a new fleet of environmentally friendly Waste Management trucks rolls into the Capital City. During the Louisiana Police Jury Association’s annual convention, attendees got a sneak peak of the new-and-improved trucks, which run on compressed natural gas (CNG), a cleaner, greener alternative to the current diesel-fueled trucks.

Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2014, WM will begin the conversion process to deliver CNG-powered vehicle to the streets of Baton Rouge by spring 2015.

The switch to CNG offers a much better alternative for the environment and comes at the perfect time for Baton Rouge. The city recently met Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for ozone pollution standards, after years of noncompliance with regulations.

Not complying with EPA standards can cause problems for the economies of regions where these requirements are not met. Industrial construction and infrastructure growth can be hindered, which could spell disaster for a constantly growing metropolitan area like Baton Rouge. Federal funds for road construction could also be in jeopardy for those noncompliant “Non-Attainment” areas.

This upgrade to CNG trucks has a positive environmental impact. The conversion of each diesel truck to natural gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 22 metric tons a year. This means that Baton Rouge’s initial conversion of 40 trucks will eliminate more than 880 metric tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions. When the transition takes place, the conversion will reduce diesel consumption in the Baton Rouge area by nearly 328,000 gallons.

In addition, the new CNG trucks will not only help with air pollution in Baton Rouge. They will also reduce noise pollution, since the trucks are nearly 50 percent more quiet than their predecessors, and that is music to Baton Rouge residents’ ears.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as WM plans to switch at least 80 percent of its approximately 18,000 vehicles to alternative fuel trucks by 2020. We’ve already converted more than 2,600 vehicles, making it the obvious frontrunner in the industry’s green movement.