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Ralphs Grocery Clears the Air

June 23, 2002

The accusations regarding Ralphs Grocery Co. trucks in "Cleanup Time for Ralphs" (editorial, June 13) are the same ones made by the Natural Resources Defense Council and, after a full trial, found to be without merit. The court held that Ralphs had fully complied with the terms of the settlement.

It has been, and continues to be, the policy of Ralphs Grocery to study, test and implement environmentally safe and cost-effective technologies, including the use of alternative fuels. This includes spearheading efforts to get clean trucks on the road. Ralphs operates one of the cleanest, most modern truck fleets in the nation. The U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and university researchers have all praised Ralphs for its leadership in clean-fuels research.

Of all the facilities scrutinized by the state in its examination of grocery distribution facilities, Ralphs was found to be the least polluting.

Ralphs and other grocers made a deal with the NRDC to end its lawsuit. Included in this agreement was a provision to try natural-gas trucks--if government funding was provided and if the trucks were cost-effective and reliable. Neither condition occurred.

Publicly available reports show that natural-gas trucks are a failure. They are costly to operate, are not dependable and pose a number of safety and health concerns. Grocery trucks are not like buses or garbage trucks. They require much more power to haul heavier loads. Natural gas does not have nearly the amount of energy offered by other fuels and thus isn't suited for use with heavy loads.

The NRDC went to court in an effort to rewrite the deal it made with Ralphs. After a full trial, the court completely rejected its arguments and found Ralphs to be in full compliance with the settlement.

John Burgon

President

Ralphs Supermarkets

*

Dave Hirz

President

Food 4 Less Warehouse Stores

Los Angeles

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