WARREN - State Rep. Sean O'Brien already has offered a tax incentive bill to entice governments and businesses to switch their vehicles to ones that run on compressed natural gas, and now he's following that with a daylong academic conference on the use of the alternative fuel.
''Natural Gas Vehicle Lunch and Learn: CNG 101'' will Dec. 5 at the Yankee Lake Ballroom.
''The idea behind it is to really educate elected officials and business leaders to take advantage of this emerging market,'' said O'Brien, D-Brookfield.
''We want to be ahead of the curve, not behind it. Think about what is happening here already with the Marcellus and Utica (shale plays), it really makes sense to take advantage of it.''
The first three-quarters of the day is dedicated to presentations on infrastructure development for compressed natural gas, vehicle conversions and the benefits of using the fuel for transportation. The remainder will be a vehicle showcase and open discussion.
It is being sponsored by Ohio Energy Resource Alliance, Clean Fuels Ohio, General Motors, the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber, Shenango Valley, Pa. Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence County, Pa. Chamber of Commerce.
Lawmakers involved are O'Brien; state Rep. Nick Barborak, a Democrat from Lisbon; and Hermitage, Pa. state Rep. Mark Longietti.
General Motors will show a new Chevrolet Impala that runs on compressed natural gas, and other exhibitors will have conversion kits on display, O'Brien said.
In Trumbull County, officials have been working on the development of compressed natural gas.
Commissioners and the Engineer's Office are seeking $750,000 from Ohio's capital budget to build a compressed natural gas fueling station and they've pledged $500,000 over the next two years to begin converting their vehicle fleets to run on the fuel.
The local dollars being committed also could be used on expenses related to the fueling station or matching funds for grants and loans that promote the use of compressed natural gas.
''We're working extremely close with Sean (O'Brien) in order to try and capitalize on this natural resource and we're certainly trying to include governments as a whole to take advantage of it,'' Engineer Randy Smith said.