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U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council Meetings

On Wednesday, several hundred government and industry participants met in Washington,
D.C. at the Canadian Embassy to discuss how U.S. and Canada can cooperate on regulatory issues. The intent of the effort is to remove barriers that impede trade and economic activity between the two countries. Earlier this month, the Canadian Prime Minister and President Obama released the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council’s Joint Forward Plan. The plan identifies 24 priority areas for cooperation including the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The Plan states that, in the area of alternative fuel use in transportation (namely natural gas), Natural Resources Canada (NRC) and the U.S. Department of Energy will build on previous work to facilitate the development of common codes and standards and explore any opportunities for alignment among stakeholders. This includes a commitment to share information, identify emerging areas in natural gas deployment, and explore challenges in codes and standards harmonization.

The event included an hour-long breakout session on natural gas. Aside from general statements regarding their intent to work together, DOE (represented by Mark Smith from the Clean Cities Program) and NRC did not offer specifics regarding the issues that they would like to work on in the coming months. They did indicate that the initial focus for natural gas will be limited to on-road vehicles and fueling infrastructure. More specifics on what exactly DOE and NRC plan to do will be released in the near future as part of a Work Plan. NGVAmerica and the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance were in attendance to offer comments on areas where the two countries can work to advance the adoption of common standards for natural gas. Alicia Milner discussed a number of regulatory issues that her organization would like to see addressed by the DOE-NRC effort. Many of the issues are ones that NGVAmerica fully supports and are issues on which the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation is already working.