State Senator Andrew Rice’s effort to convert most of the state government vehicle fleets to compressed natural gas (CNG) was temporarily derailed by Senate Republicans in floor action today, Rice said.
Rice was attempting to add his conversion proposal to a bill (SB 1604) by State Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, that directs the Secretary of Energy to create a state energy policy.
“Any Oklahoma energy plan should logically include efforts to cut energy costs for taxpayers, better utilize Oklahoma natural resources and reduce hydrocarbon emissions that accelerate global warming,” Rice said. “It’s a win-win for our state.”
After Rice fielded a series of questions from his colleagues regarding his amendment during Thursday morning’s session and it appeared to have broad support, Myers asked that his bill be “laid over” for consideration at a later time.
“I’m disappointed but not deterred,” Rice said. “I can’t imagine why anyone would object to saving taxpayer dollars by using Oklahoma-based fuels that are environmentally sound. I plan to reach out to Senator Myers to find a way to bring this issue before the Senate again.”
Earlier this year, Rice introduced SB 1771, which would require the 35 state agencies with at least ten vehicles in their fleet to either purchase vehicles that utilize compressed natural gas or convert existing vehicles to CNG in order to increase fuel efficiency by 50 percent before June, 2012.
During this morning’s Senate debate, Rice said that other states and municipalities have reported fuel cost savings from 25% to 50% after converting to CNG. He also noted its bipartisan support. State Rep. Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa, has introduced similar legislation in the House.