On behalf of PA Governor Edward G. Rendell, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Kathleen McGinty encouraged school districts, local governments, corporations, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and residents to apply for more than US$17 million in Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants (AFIG).Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – August 15, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “The AFIG program funds projects that use alternative fuels that help to reduce air pollution and our dependence on foreign oil,” Secretary McGinty said. “Previous recipients have used these grants to purchase hybrid-electric vehicles and construct refueling or recharging facilities. The program is an essential part of advancing alternative fuel vehicle technologies in the marketplace by funding research, development and field-testing.” A third of Pennsylvania’s ozone pollution comes from gasoline-powered vehicles and refueling operations. Studies show that alternative fuels emit no particulate matter, less carbon monoxide and fewer pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, than conventional gasoline and diesel fuel. “We recognize the hard fact that the great majority of our citizens are exposed to significantly polluted air, and we are responding as leaders with conviction and resolve to work to fix the problem using fair and effective solutions,” said Kevin Stewart, environmental manager for the American Lung Association of Pennsylvania and a member of SVOAP. Pennsylvania’s AFIG program was created by Act 166 of 1992. Its purpose is to reduce the state’s dependence on imported oil, improve Pennsylvania’s environmental quality and foster economic development by encouraging the transfer and commercialization of innovative energy technologies and the use of fuels indigenous to the Commonwealth. To date, DEP has awarded more than $20 million to fund 291 projects in 35 counties. The AFIG program pays for up to 20 percent of the applicant’s eligible costs. Alternative fuels include liquid propane gas (LPG), ethanol (E85), methanol (M85), hydrogen, hythane, electricity, coal-derived liquid fuels and fuels derived from biological materials. Although natural gas is a qualifying fuel under the program, the department is concerned about tight supplies and enhanced prices for the fuel source. DEP will review applications involving natural gas vehicles with those important market realities in mind. The application package can be requested by contacting Virginia Harris at DEP in Harrisburg, or may be obtained by visiting the PA PowerPort online. To qualify for a share of the available $17 million, applications must be received by DEP by 4 p.m. on October 1. Secretary McGinty made the announcement at a Car Care Clinic at a service center in Harrisburg, Dauphin County. The clinic, sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ozone Action Partnership (SVOAP), offered tips about proper automobile care and maintenance to ensure vehicles run more efficiently, last longer and pollute less.