MICHIGAN CITY – South Shore Clean Cities honored Northern Indiana’s sustainable transportation leaders on Tuesday in Michigan City, and the host city took one of the top awards.
The city of Michigan City received the 2018 NIRPC Green Fleet Member of the Year award at the nonprofit's Annual Meeting & Awards Tuesday at the Blue Chip Stardust Event Center.
The award "recognizes a NIRPC South Shore Clean Cities Green Fleet member that stands as an example for others in their actions and commitments to sustainable practices," Clean Cities Executive Director Carl Lisek said.
“The dedication of our members to improving the quality of life in Northern Indiana through sustainable practices continues to amaze and inspire me,” he said.
“The award winners are supporting domestic fuels, protecting national energy security and local jobs, promoting economic development and contributing to improved air quality all while improving the bottom line of their operations. I congratulate them on their accomplishments.”
The awards ceremony "celebrated the successes of members in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and gasoline gallon equivalents," Clean Cities spokeswoman Lauri Keagle said.
Collectively, South Shore Clean Cities members displaced more than 18.3 million gasoline gallon equivalents and more than 113,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, the year for which awards were presented, Keagle said.
"According to the U.S. EPA, their actions represent the greenhouse gas reduction equivalent of taking more than 34,500 passenger vehicles off the road for one year."
The 2018 Member of the Year Award was presented to Fair Oaks Farms of Fair Oaks, Indiana, which had the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions and gasoline gallon equivalents reduced over the course of 2017, according to Keagle.
Runners-up in the Member of the Year category were Entertainment Cruises of Chicago; city of South Bend Central Services; Ozinga of Mokena, Illinois; and Family Express Corp.
The 2018 South Shore Clean Cities Champion Award was presented to the United Soybean Board, headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri. The award is presented to a member organization that "supports the South Shore Clean Cities mission and works as a partner and leader to educate, inform and inspire others to take action toward greater sustainable practices," Keagle said.
South Shore Clean Cities manages the Green Fleet programs for the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC).
The goal is to "significantly improve the environmental performance of government fleets by implementing sustainable transportation strategies," Keagle said. "Green Fleet members receive professional consultation including a fleet assessment and emissions quantification report."
While Michigan City was the NIRPC Green Fleet Member of the Year Award for the agency that serves Lake, Porter and La Porte counties; the 2018 MACOG Green Fleet Member of the Year Award was presented to the South Bend Public Transportation Corporation (Transpo).
The University of Notre Dame Office of Sustainability was awarded the 2018 Excellence in Environmental Education Award for being the "individual or organization that has most greatly influenced the Northern Indiana community and implemented one or more of the following: advancing environmental learning, ensuring Hoosiers are environmentally literate, engaging in environmental stewardship or contributing to a sustainable future," Lisek said,
Jennifer Sanders, public information manager for Envirotest Systems of Crown Point, was honored as the 2018 Empowering Woman of the Year for being "passionate about sustainable transportation solutions" and "demonstrating measurable impacts related to her efforts," Lisek said.
South Shore Clean Cities also honored two retiring Board of Directors members – former board president Brian Houston of Clean Energy Fuels and John Zaharias of CenterPoint Energy.
South Shore Clean Cities is a nonprofit, member-based coalition dedicated to promoting sustainable transportation in Northern Indiana, one of nearly 100 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions nationwide. For more information, visit southshorecleancities.org.