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Idle-Free VT Inc. is now Idle-Free California Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 and based in Vermont until 2016. The organization's Executive Director and President Wayne Michaud relocated to California in August 2016 to continue idle-free education there. State of California exempt organization address and name change requirements were met as well as an IRS name change. The website, idlefreecalifornia.org was created. In February 2017, two Idle-Free VT/Idle-Free California board members from Vermont were harmoniously removed while a new board member from California came on board; additional board members from California are being sought. This idlefreevt.org website, and the Idle-Free VT Facebook page, will continue to exist as resources and will be minimally maintained at least through the end of 2017.
THE FUTURE OF IDLE-FREE IN VERMONT: As Wayne's move approached, time was spent connecting with board members and funders, as well as idle-free stakeholders in education, health, air quality and transportation in the interest of the continuation of an idle-free effort in Vermont. The good news is, a former Vermont board member along with other partners are committed to the mission of Idle-Free VT. Exactly how a new idle-free organization or umbrella initiative will be shaped, where it will live and who will lead it, is still evolving, but the assurance is there that the goals of a Vermont idle-free effort are in good hands. Until then, Idle-Free VT will remain in a consulting role for Vermont.
The following is a description of Idle-Free VT prior to becoming Idle-Free California:
Idle-Free VT primarily raises awareness of unnecessary vehicle idling (idling when parked) in Vermont; it secondarily encourages green/eco-driving practice. This is accomplished through funded projects that reach individuals, students, businesses, and municipalities with educational presentations. Idle-Free VT encourages local activism, practices and policies through its projects, media exposure, handout distribution, networking, collaborating, and forming coalitions. Idle-Free VT also advocates for vehicle idling limitation laws, regulations and rules.
Idle-Free VT was granted a certificate of incorporation as a nonprofit by the Vermont Office of Secretary of State in 2009. The organization achieved IRS federal 501(c)(3) tax exempt status as a public charity in 2013.
Idle-Free VT Inc. Board of Directors (prior to Feb. 2017)
Wayne Michaud, Executive Director/President/Treasurer
David Polow, Director/Vice President: Personal injury attorney, Polow Polow & Mahoney
David is a long-time air-quality advocate and played an active role in adoption of a no idling policy for all vehicles at the Morristown School District in 2008.
Ellen Michaud, Director/Secretary: Award-winning author, editor and teacher
Ellen is an advisor and strong supporter of Idle-Free VT.
Paul Markowitz, Director: Community Energy Program Manager, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)
Paul has for many years been involved in issues of sustainability, energy efficiency, climate change, sustainable development, and public policy. Paul is former Coordinator of the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club
Nadine Barnicle, Director: Principal, Canter Barnicle Consulting (CBC-CAVU)
Nadine has a strong background in environmental and sustainability issues. As a Middlebury College visiting instructor, she led a student idling awareness educational effort at Weybridge Elementary School, VT that resulted in a no idling policy. Nadine is founding member of the Weybridge Energy Committee.
Wayne Michaud at The Sharon Academy, Sharon, VT in June 2014 after presenting Idle-Free from the Start to drivers ed students.
Idle-Free VT partners and advisors
David Polow, Polow Polow & Mahoney
Tom Moye, Section Chief, Mobile Sources Section, Air Quality & Climate Division, Vermont DEC
Karen Glitman, Director Transportation Efficiency, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)
Paul Markowitz, Community Energy Program Manager, Vermont Energy Investment Corp. (VEIC)
Rebecca Ryan, Senior Director, Health Education and Public Policy, American Lung Assoc. - VT
Nadine Barnicle, Principal, Canter Barnicle Consulting (CBC-CAVU)
Barbara Brody, Drivers Education teacher, Peoples Academy, Morrisville, VT
Denis Rydjeski, Committee Chair, Sierra Club, Vermont Chapter
Laura Asermily, Middlebury Energy Committee
Debra Sachs, President | CEO EcoStrategies, LLC
Samuel H. Press, esq, Burlington, VT
WAYNE MICHAUD, Executive Director
IDLE-FREE CALIFORNIA INC.
6900 Navarro Ct.
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
Idle-Free VT has partnered with or consulted with the following organizations:
The Vermont Dept. of Health, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Agency of Education, American Lung Association in Vermont, Vermont Driver Training and Safety Education Association (VDTSEA), UVM Transportation Research Center, Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), High Meadows Fund, U.S. Dept. of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, Vermont DMV/VTrans, and SERG. Idle-Free VT also uses references and sources from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Office of Energy Efficiency Natural Resources Canada.
From the beginnings...
While having an awareness of idling as wasteful as far back as the 1980s (shutting off engine in drive-thru lines), Wayne Michaud began taking idling more seriously in 2005 when he observed vehicles idling at one of the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) recycling and waste disposal drop off centers. This prompted him to write a letter to a local newspaper and to report his observation to CSWD. To his surprise, CSWD responded by adopting a no-idling policy for their vehicles and posting no-idling signs at their drop off centers.
In 2006, Wayne became a member of ACORN--the Addison County Relocalization Network, a newly formed Middlebury post-carbon/localization group. Motivated by the CSWD action and ACORN's agenda, he studied the issue of unnecessary vehicle idling and learned about other idle-free efforts and idling regulations in the U.S and Canada. In Vermont, there were a couple of local and regional efforts with idle-free components. In addition, Burlington has a municipal idling restriction ordinance.
In particular, Wayne found a local idle-free campaign in Lenox, Massachusetts, organized by Rick Gregg, then of the Lenox Environmental Committee. Rick also observed folks idling needlessly which, in 2001, spurred him to act. Support for the grassroots effort was built on contact with schools, stakeholders in the community (board of health, chamber of commerce, dept. of public works), flyer handouts and media coverage. The initiative gained further credibility with grants and outside sponsors. Also, unlike Vermont, Massachusetts had an all motor vehicle idle-reduction law. In 2004, the Lenox Selectboard officially designated Lenox "idle-free".
Wayne and supporting ACORN members realized that the Lenox model could be applied to towns in Vermont and there were thoughts of campaigning in Addison County towns. But the idea of a farther reaching, statewide campaign that would feature a petition drive was the challenge Wayne wanted (in retrospect, not an ideal way to start a campaign). He remembered participating in the "ironing board" actions of the INFACT GE Boycott of the 1980s - with the successful result of getting GE out of the nuclear weapons business. This nationwide grassroots campaign, utilizing petitioning actions in public gathering locations, was the inspiration for Idle-Free VT's 2006 petition drive.
In its continuing effort to make Vermont "idle-free", Idle-Free VT has gone on to be part of the legislative lobbying effort that led to enactment of the 2007 Vermont school bus idle-reduction law, partnered with others in Business Idle-Free to raise awareness about idling in the business community and in 2008 successfully worked with the DMV resulting in Idle-Free VT flyers and posters being placed in all six DMV office locations (replenished in 2009 and 2011).
After honoring Wayne Michaud as its Air Quality Champion in 2009, the American Lung Association in Vermont hired Wayne to coordinate Vermont Idle-Free Fleets, a Vermont Agency of Natural Resources funded program from 2010-2012, showing fleet operators in Chittenden and Rutland counties the benefits in idling reduction and in adopting idling reduction policies. 16 business and municipal fleets adopted polices impacting up to 1,800 trucks. In June 2012, Idle-Free VT Inc. submitted application for federal 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
In 2013, Idle-Free VT achieved 501(c)(3) tax exempt status; since 2011 has been a member the Vermont Transportation Efficiency Network, a Vermont group of diverse transportation efficiency advocates; worked with the DMV to get idling awareness and green/eco-driving practice language into the latest reprint of the Vermont Driver's Manual; implemented ; became a Friends of VDTSEA (Vermont Driver Training and Safety Education Assoc.) member, working with driver educators to offer Idle-Free from the Start guest lecturing; deemed an "Anti-Idling Hero" by Sustainable America in July 2013; participated in a special meeting and ongoing discussions with legislators, the American Lung Association, and state agencies (DMV, AOT, BGS, DEC) seeking to improve enforcement of state idling laws and to involve the state in print and web idling awareness education. This has led to the launching of a DEC webpage on vehicle idling: BeIdleFree.
A PINNACLE REACHED: The end of the 2013 legislative session marked the culmination of seven years of effort by this campaign and other Vermont idle-free advocates when Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law legislative bill S.150 (known as ACT 57) which includes the section, Prohibited Idling of Motor Vehicles. This state law became effective May 1, 2014 and strengthens our ongoing educational efforts.
• 2013: Idle-Free for Fleet$, a Vermont Dept. of Health/CDC funded project showing fleet operators the benefits in idling reduction
• 2013-14: School No Idling Policies (SNIP), a second Vermont Dept. of Health/CDC funded project bringing idling awareness education to schools and seeking to increase the number of schools with no-idling policies
• 2014-15; Vermont Idle-Free Schools, a High Meadows Fund supported project for the 2014-15 school year providing more than 60 idling awareness and eco-driving educational presentations at Vermont schools, coordinating six long term, student-led idling study and measuring campaigns, and seeking to increase the number of schools with no-idling guidelines
• 2015-16: Vermont Idle-Free Schools project funded by the High Meadows Fund and the Vermont Community Foundation, continuing the work of the previous school year
At the end of Wayne's idle-free tenure in Vermont, Dept. of Environmental Conservation's Tom Moye, Mobile Sources Section Chief, Vermont Air Quality and Climate Program stated, "In all my years at DEC, I'm hard-pressed to think of any Vermont citizen who has done more to help address an important environmental and public health issue like this one. Unnecessary vehicle idling is one of those problems that simply cannot be solved by Government alone. Citizen action and involvement are absolutely critical, and no one provides a better example of that than you."
About Wayne Michaud
Wayne, 69, and his wife, after 18 truly wonderful years in Bristol, Vermont, moved to Santa Rosa, California in August 2016 and then to Citrus Heights, CA in Sacramento County in March 2017. Wayne is an environmental advocate and fine artist.
A big reason why I chose to be an environmental advocate is, I have loved Vermont. After many years of getting a taste of the Green Mountain state, in the form of camping, hiking, all too brief stays at inns, and getting my "fix" every time Vermont Life arrived in the mail, my dreams became reality in 1998 when I moved here. While Pennsylvania was not a bad place to live, I never loved where I lived until I made it to Vermont. Vermont has a beauty that is not so much of a physical grandeur, as it is a more simple beauty, largely unspoiled. An oasis in a not so peaceful world. I have found Vermonters to be more giving, caring, tolerant, and honest. There's no question I have gotten satisfaction in doing my little part in helping preserve Vermont's beauty and to improve the quality of life here. In August 2016 my wife and I reluctantly departed this beautiful state to live in California (to work on bigger environmental challenges and be closer to our son, living in California). While I miss Vermont greatly, I relish the opportunity to raise awareness of unnecessary idling in the car-centric state that California is.
I also recognize vehicle idling in Vermont, California, and elsewhere, will exist until the decades-long transition from the internal combustion engine is complete. Until then, education showing the benefits in avoiding idling when parked will be the key.