Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hansen: State easing off gas, onto alternative fuels

We cannot meet in his office, because he doesn't have an office.

I don't need to schedule an interview through his public relations person, because he doesn't have one of those, or an assistant, or any employees.

Instead, Jim McGee plops down beside me at a coffee shop, greets me with a pat on the back and hands me a homemade business card that says, “Nebraska Clean Cities Coalition.”

McGee, a longtime Nebraska Department of Roads official, now runs a nonprofit devoted to weaning Nebraskans off gasoline-powered cars.

Only one tiny hurdle: Nearly every single Nebraskan, including McGee and yours truly, drives a gas-powered car.

“I am more encouraged than I ever thought I would be,” McGee says. “The more I see, the more I sense that the glass is filling up.”

So far as I can tell, Jim McGee is not delusional.

Rather, his is an exercise — a lesson, really — in looking at the marathon ahead and then simply deciding to put one foot in front of the other.

Here's a step: Omaha and Millard students are now transported to their schools by 434 propane-powered buses. It's the largest propane-powered fleet of its kind in the country.

Here's a step: A local plumbing company runs its service vans on compressed natural gas — an energy that, while not exactly clean, at least comes from inside the United States.

Here's a step: Nebraska truck stops are starting to explore truck electrification, which allows truck drivers to live in their semis without constantly idling their engines.

McGee just started his new job as the first paid director of Nebraska Clean Cities, a position paid for temporarily by a federal grant. Read more here.

No comments:

Post a Comment