Benge receives Natural Gas Vehicle Achievement Award
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Published: 18-Aug-2010

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 18-Aug-2010

Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge was honored by NGV America and the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation this week for efforts to advance the development of natural gas vehicles and stations in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Benge was the only elected official awarded the 2010 National Natural Gas Vehicle Achievement Award. Verizon, Choice Environmental Services, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Joseph Noorlag with Republic Services, Inc., and Ron Gulmi with National Grid also received the award.

According to a press release from NGV America announcing the winners, Benge was recognized “for his leadership in advancing natural gas vehicle development in his state,” and for being a “tireless advocate of using both the country’s and the state’s resources for transportation.”

The release sent to CapitolBeatOK cited several bills authored by Benge, including the Oklahoma Energy Security Act which seeks to increase Oklahoma’s usage of natural gas as a transportation alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

“We made great progress toward reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil by pushing a locally-available, plentiful and cheaper option in natural gas,” said Benge, a Tulsa Republican. “We cannot sit idly by and watch our dependence on OPEC oil grow when we have alternatives like natural gas to offer energy and transportation fuel supplements right now. This is a national and economic security issue that our country must work to solve now, and I am proud that our state has been recognized as a leader in this arena.”

Benge authored legislation that put in place tax credits to help incentivize Oklahomans to purchase natural gas vehicles and for companies to build public natural gas fueling stations. He also authored the Oklahoma Energy Security Act this year, which set an alternative energy goal for the state and also set a goal of having one public CNG station located every 100 miles along the state’s interstate system by the year 2015 and every 50 miles by 2025.

“Energy independence is one of the most important issues facing our country right now and we cannot afford to ignore this issue any longer,” said Benge.

“Increased natural gas usage not only helps reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil, but creates jobs and wealth right here in America instead of shipping our money overseas. My hope is that other states will see what we have done here in Oklahoma and see the success we have had in expanding natural gas usage for transportation and will mimic legislation in their own states,” he concluded.

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