BURLINGTON, Vermont, August 1, 2012 (ENS) – The Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers has expressed unanimous support for the deployment of advanced transportation technology and alternative fuel vehicles in the region.

The governors and premiers held their annual meeting Monday in Burlington. Co-chaired by Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, this year’s conference centered on the theme “Energy and Transportation: Opportunities for Economic Growth.”

The talks focused on renewable energy, emerging transportation technologies and cross-border transportation and the leaders adopted resolutions intended to address the practicalities of achieving a low-carbon transportation future.

Jean Charest

Quebec Premier Jean Charest (Photo courtesy Government of Quebec)

Premier Charest said, “Today, Quebec and its regional partners seized a golden opportunity to take their discussions and efforts further in key sectors of our economies, including energy and transportation. I am thrilled that Quebec’s expertise and know-how can make a major contribution to our mutual prosperity.”

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was named Lead Governor for Transportation. In this position, Governor Malloy will serve as the chief coordinator for advocacy and policy advancement of transportation initiatives for the Conference of New England Governors.

The governors and premiers authorized their Transportation Air Quality Committee, TAQC, to produce a regional transportation energy use and emissions profile.

The profile is expected to help the states and provinces quantify the social, economic, and environmental benefits of advanced technology vehicles, alternative fuels and more efficient mobility options for the region.

The TAQC was instructed to work with other private, nonprofit, and government entities to develop policy recommendations that will “maximize the potential for and accelerate the deployment of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles and to facilitate a lower carbon and more sustainable transportation future.”

The TAQC will report its policy recommendations at next year’s conference, to be held in Quebec City.

The governors and premiers pledged to coordinate and share information on ways to address any impacts that the growth of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles will have on future transportation revenues.

Finally, they passed a resolution directing the states and provinces to review and revise their 2008 Transportation Air Quality Action Plan in view of emerging alternative vehicles, technologies, policy approaches, and pilot projects. Any recommendations emerging from this review will be presented at next year’s conference.

To this end, on September 27, Montreal will host the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Conference, an initiative of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, CNEG-ECP.

In a bi-lateral meeting, Premier Charest and Governor Shumlin came to an agreement to work with Hydro-Quebec, Green Mountain Power Corporation in Vermont, and private sector representatives to create a task force on deploying charging infrastructures in the Quebec-Vermont corridor.

In keeping with the Government of Quebec’s Electric Vehicles 2011-2020 Action Plan, Hydro-Quebec is already setting up stations in Quebec.

The premiers and governors attracted an estimated 600 people Sunday to a rally at City Hall and march through downtown Burlington to protest government policies toward the environment, immigrants and refugees, and the economy, according to protest organizers.

Demonstrators created a “human oil spill” at Burlington’s Battery Park to dramatize the environmental damage that could result if tar sands oil from Alberta is shipped across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in a repurposed gas pipeline as proposed.

Burlington police fired pepper balls and rubber pellets and used pepper spray on demonstrators in front of the Burlington Hilton Hotel who blocked buses carrying delegates to the meeting. Two police officers were slightly injured in the clash. There were no arrests and no other reports of injuries.

The nonprofit Vermont Community Law Center in Burlington today formally requested more information from authorities on how and why police fired non-lethal weapons at protesters at the demonstration Sunday.

The CNEG-ECP was created in 1973. It is made up of the governors of the six New England states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont – and the premiers of Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces – Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.