Support a Green Fleet Policy for Thetford

Monday, November 4 at 7:50 pm, Town Hall in Thetford Center


You know there’s a climate emergency. This policy will only be adopted if the Selectboard hears from you.

On Monday, the Selectboard will consider a policy that would for the first time make greenhouse gas emissions one of the considerations in the purchase of town-owned vehicles. The policy would, if implemented, result in record-keeping to inform decisions to “achieve the greatest level of emission reductions possible while still meeting the operational needs of the Town and being cost-

effective.” (see below for full policy)

Please come to the meeting to speak or show up in support of the Green Fleet policy.

This modest proposal has received a great deal of support from the community in the form of written comments to the Selectboard. Unfortunately, when it came before the board last month in a meeting well-attended by community members in support, the discussion bogged down over a non-substantive argument about whether the process for putting it on the agenda was “appropriate." Since then, many of you have written to ask the Selectboard to put the policy back on the agenda for consideration of its substance.

Now our two allies on the Selectboard need your help. Monday’s meeting will be the best opportunity to win over at least one other member to vote in favor. We should be able to do that with this common-sense policy, which addresses climate-changing emissions and saves taxpayer money. 

To make it happen, we need to show up in person and speak in favor. You don’t need to be eloquent or give a speech, simply say how important it is for you personally to see Town government paying attention to our energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

The policy is below. Thank you for your support!

Stuart Blood


Some examples of how neighboring towns are addressing the issue:

  • Norwich’s Police Department is replacing an old cruiser with a new hybrid model. The department estimates this one replacement alone will reduce its CO2 emissions by 14,409 lbs each year, 41% of which will be due to reduced vehicle idling; save $2086/year from reduced gasoline usage.  

  • Hanover’s Police Department is replacing four of its cruisers with hybrids.  Valley News 4/5/19: Hanover moves closer to renewable energy goal

  • Hartford amended its town plan this year with goals to reduce emissions from vehicles and town buildings. Valley News 10/10/19: Norwich, Hartford acting on climate emergency

TOWN OF THETFORD GREEN FLEET POLICY

PURPOSE

This policy covers all departments under the Selectboard that have vehicles or metered equipment and sets guidelines to minimize greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Implementation of this policy will help the Town meet its energy goals while reducing the short- and long-term costs of purchasing, maintaining, and operating Town vehicles. 

OVERSIGHT

The Town Manager shall oversee implementation of this policy, and shall present annual reports of findings and progress to the Selectboard.

INVENTORY

Beginning in calendar year 2020, the Town shall establish and maintain an inventory of the vehicles in its fleet. The inventory metrics should include the following information:

  1. Number of vehicles.

  2. Annual miles driven (or annual hours of metered equipment).

  3. GHG emissions (i.e., carbon dioxide equivalent).

  4. Non-GHG tailpipe emissions (i.e., EPA criteria pollutants).

  5. Quantity of fuel consumed by fuel type.

  6. Cost of fuel consumed by fuel type.

FLEET OPTIMIZATION

  1. The Town Manager will provide utilization reports to the departments and make recommendations about possible fleet reductions.

  2. Replacement vehicles shall achieve the greatest level of emission reductions possible while still meeting the operational needs of the Town and being cost-effective.

  3. Fuels with lower emissions (such as compressed natural gas, ethanol, electricity, and biodiesel) shall be used when feasible. Vehicles using these fuel types shall be strongly considered when evaluating vehicle replacement.

FLEET MAINTENANCE

  1. Environmentally friendly products, such as recycled coolants and re-refined oils, shall be used where available when cost effective and when it will not void the manufacturer’s warranty or negatively impact the vehicle’s operation.

  2. A reasonable effort shall be made to reduce or eliminate vehicle leakage of environmentally harmful substances such as coolant, oil, or fuel.

  3. Re-treaded tires shall be purchased for large-wheeled or slow-moving vehicles, when applicable.