NEW YORK– Actor and environmental activist Blythe Danner joined a gathering of business people, politicians, environmentalists, and community activists to celebrate and praise garbage trucks. The two brand new natural gas-powered trucks and the natural gas sweeper recently unveiled in Union Square stood as the unlikely symbols of New York City’s push to rid its air of hazardous pollutants.

The heavily attended event was organized by Energy Vision — a national non-profit organization that studies and promotes the benefits of clean, renewable petroleum-free transportation fuels. The objective was to raise public awareness of the strides made locally toward replacing diesel-powered garbage trucks with state-of-the-art natural gas-powered trucks.

The guests of honor were representatives of the Township of Smithtown on Long Island, two major privately-owned refuse and recycling companies and the NYC Department of Sanitation. In the last year, acting independently, Smithtown, Filco Carting Corporation, Metropolitan Paper Recycling Company, and DSNY committed to put 38 new natural gas trucks into operation. Twenty-eight are now in service.

As revealed in a new report released by Energy Vision, “Fueling a Greener Future: NYC Metropolitan Region Garbage Fleets Commit to Alternative Fuels,” this step forward involves a strategy that could contribute greatly to achieving Mayor Bloomberg’s goal of making this a healthy and sustainable city by 2030.

Danner, who took a brief tour in one of the new vehicles, said, “It is amazing that, for reducing air pollution, taking one old diesel truck off the streets is like removing 325 cars. Every child exposed to the new natural gas trucks will be a healthier child, and, by our becoming less oil dependent, every child will have a better chance for a secure future.”

Copies of Energy Vision’s Report, “Fueling a Greener Future: NYC Metropolitan Region Garbage Fleets Commit to Alternative Fuels,” are available by contacting LCG Communications (below) or by visiting the Energy Vision Web site