Building on a joint U.S.-Canada government cooperation plan issued at the end of last month, the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA) have pledged their "full support" for increased cooperation between the two nations on efforts to promote use of natural gas vehicles (NGV).

A Joint Regulatory Cooperation Council launched three years ago following earlier agreements between the two nations (see Daily GPIFeb. 20, 2009) announced last Friday a "Joint Forward Plan" designed to tear down barriers between regulatory departments and agencies in the two governments.

"This plan sets the stage for improvements in the way regulatory departments and agencies in both countries work together," said the CGA and CNGVA officials, noting that the development of natural gas as a transportation fuel is one of 24 initiatives to be pursued in the plan for future joint nation cooperation.

The new joint plan calls for Canada's natural resources agency and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build on previous work to develop common codes and standards for NGVs, along with looking for opportunities to achieve more "alignment among stakeholders."

As part of this effort, organizations on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border will commit to greater sharing of information, identifying emerging areas for NGV developments, and exploring the challenges to "harmonizing" codes and standards, the CGA and CNGVA said.

The Canadian natural gas organization officials are looking for the joint plan overall to improve both nation's regulatory operations, and as a result, make it easier for businesses in both nations to operate in the 24 priority areas identified, including the natural gas transportation fuel sector.

"Natural gas can help reduce the operating costs of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, transit buses, rail, marine and off-road fleets," said Timothy Egan, CGA president. "This helps keep Canada's economy moving forward."

Noting that the United States continues to be Canada's biggest trading partner, Egan said greater cooperation on both sides of the border will lead to more consumer choice, increased economic development, and increased competitiveness for Canada.

Alicia Milner, CNGVA president, cited North America's competitive advantage with it plentiful and cost-effective natural gas supplies. It bodes well for natural gas in the transportation sector, Milner said.

"Canada's NGV industry looks forward to continued collaboration with [the federal government's] Natural Resources Canada to address technical barriers and to provide outreach to fleets," Milner said.