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Pittsburgh’s Mayor Pushes For Natural Gas-Powered Vehicles

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Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl at a December 2010 event

Pittsburgh’s mayor wants the city to purchase more natural gas-powered vehicles, according to the Tribune-Review.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said on Monday he wants to buy four natural-gas-powered garbage trucks that he said are more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run than diesel trucks.

Ravenstahl said the trucks would “improve local air quality, decrease the region’s reliance on imported fuel and reduce the city’s operating costs by nearly $40,000 per year.”

Councilman Doug Shields said he’ll vote for the purchase when Ravenstahl proposes it at today’s council meeting. But he dismissed the idea that it’s a “green” initiative.

“It’s just trading one pollution source for another,” said Shields, who led efforts that resulted in a ban on Marcellus shale drilling in the city.

Although Shields agreed that natural-gas-powered trucks are more fuel-efficient and produce less pollution, he said processes used to extract natural gas — particularly from drilling in Marcellus shale — harm the environment. Industry advocates argue that drillers are regulated and take steps to protect the environment.

Ravenstahl is much more pro-gas than the City Council, which voted to ban hydraulic fracturing within city limits last year.

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