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Press contact: Elliott Negin (NRDC), 202-289-2405 or Mark Wenzler (Sierra Club), 202-887-8851
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NRDC-Sierra Club Clean Bus Campaign Applauds New Metro Natural Gas Buses And Fueling Station

Campaign Calls on Elected Officials to Secure Funding to Buy More Buses

WASHINGTON (February 11, 2002) -- The efforts of the Clean Bus Campaign, which NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and the Sierra Club's D.C. Chapter launched two years ago, paid off today. At 11 this morning, Metro unveiled its new natural gas buses and fueling station at its Bladensburg facility in Northeast Washington.

"We applaud Metro for doing the right thing to protect our health," said Elliott Negin, an NRDC spokesman. "We live in one of worst areas in the country for ozone pollution, and replacing dirty diesel buses with CNG buses will help remove nitrogen oxides -- a major cause of smog -- from our air." A recent study found that smog may actually cause asthma, Negin added, and the District asthma rate is more than twice the national average.

Metro has made a commitment to eventually retire its diesel fleet and replace it with cleaner technology. But the biggest obstacle is funding.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to clean up our air," said Mark Wenzler of the Sierra Club's D.C. Chapter. "We call on our elected officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia to do their part to secure the necessary funding to make it possible."

The Clean Bus Campaign specifically thanked D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, the D.C. City Council, the Metro board, Metro CEO Richard White, and Metro director of bus operations Jack Requa for the work they did to bring CNG buses to the Washington metropolitan area.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The campaign also thanked the following organizations for their support: American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), American Lung Association of D.C., American Public Health Association, Downtown Cluster of Congregations, Energy and Environmental Study Institute, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Gray Panthers, Greenpeace, Inform, International Center for Technology Assessment, National Environmental Trust, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Safe Energy Communication Council, Surface Transportation Policy Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), and the Washington Area Bicyclists Association.

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