OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) slashed $3 million in costs last year by eliminating 125 vehicles from its agency motor pool. The Department, which manages millions of acres of state-owned forest, agricultural and grazing land, expects to save at least $300,000 each year in operating costs due to the reductions.
“Reducing emissions and the overall energy footprint of DNR is a top priority,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “By cutting the number of vehicles and driving less we are saving millions of dollars while enhancing our mission of managing the state’s lands wisely and for the public good.”
The effort to reduce the agency’s energy footprint is a major goal of the DNR Strategic Plan: 2010-2010: The Goldmark Agenda. DNR is using a combination of conservation, cleaner energy and management strategies to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses its operations introduce into the atmosphere.
In 2008, DNR used 778,000 gallons of fuel to drive 11.59 million miles. In 2009, that dropped to 704,000 gallons used to drive 9.85 million miles – a reduction of 1.7 millions driven and 74,000 gallons of fuel used.
Reductions were made by revising operations to reduce employee travel, increasing oversight of motor pool management, centralizing the dispatching and management of the stateside motor pool and purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrids. DNR also is exploring the use of biofuels for the heavy equipment it operates for additional savings and emission reductions.
DNR plans to eliminate another 100 vehicles from its fleet over the next two years. The reductions were made to the number of automobiles, passenger vans, pick-up trucks and other highway use vehicles DNR owns. The Department continues to maintain fire engines, water tenders and other back-country vehicle required to defend about 12.7 million acres of the state from wildfire.
State trust lands–managed with care
DNR, led by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, manages more than 3 million acres of state-owned trust forest, agricultural, range lands and commercial properties. These state trust lands earn income to build schools, universities and other state institutions, and help fund local services in many counties.
In addition to earning income, trust lands ecosystems are habitat for native plant and animal species, protecting clean and abundant water, and offering public recreation and education, and research opportunities statewide.
Peter Goldmark is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.