South Shore Clean Cities Inc. is leading an effort with six communities in northwest Indiana to "green" their municipal fleets. Communities participating in the Northwest Indiana Green Fleet program are the Town of Dyer, City of East Chicago, City of Hobart, City of LaPorte, City of Portage, and City of Valparaiso.

"The goal of the Green Fleet program is to work with governmental fleets in Lake County, LaPorte County, and Porter County to lessen the barriers to adopt alternative fuels and create policies to support reductions of petroleum use and vehicle emissions," said Carl Lisek, executive director, South Shore Clean Cities.

Lisek and his staff collect information from government officials about their fleet vehicles, including those operated by police, fire, health, sanitation, public transportation, and utility departments and building inspectors.

"We analyze the data and make recommendations on equipment needed to improve each fleet’s environmental performance," he said. "We provide training on green initiatives and assist on finding and applying for eligible funding to improve and update fleet equipment."

Kathy Luther, director of environmental programs at Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, said the Green Fleet program builds upon work in the past.

"In the past, we have provided information and assistance to municipalities on ways to reduce pollution and save energy through their fleets based on what funding is available," she said. "The great thing about the Green Fleet program is that each of the pilot communities' fleets will be looked at as a whole. Solutions that work best for each city, town, and department can be identified and implemented in ways that save money and improve the environment."