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News Releases from Region 09

Three Southern California Clean Air and Climate Projects Win EPA Recognition

Contact Information: 
Dean Higuchi (higuchi.dean@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize three Southern California groups for their innovative work on clean air and climate projects. The 2016 Clean Air Excellence Awards are given to state, local, tribal, and private sector programs that educate the public in improving air quality or reducing harmful air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. 

“Our winners from the public and private sectors have shown true environmental leadership,” said Deborah Jordan, EPA’s Acting Deputy Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We applaud these pioneering efforts to cut harmful air pollution and improve public health through a range of innovative approaches.”

A total of seven groups and individuals were recognized nationally this year, the three Southern California winners are:

Community Action Award: Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (Santa Barbara, Calif.) – Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies. The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District established a voluntary vessel speed reduction program for ships coming to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to lower the risk of ship strikes on endangered whales. By reducing ship speed to 12 knots, they reduced more than 500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 12 tons of ozone-forming nitrogen oxide emissions, and no whales were hit by these ships. Partners in this effort are the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, Environmental Defense Center, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Regulatory and Policy Innovations Award: Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (Bishop, Calif.) – Owens Lake PM10.  The project involves cleanup of the dried Owens Lake bed, which generated substantial emissions of PM10 (particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or less).  At 48.6 square miles, it is the largest PM10 emission control project in the world, and has led to annual air pollution reductions of 75,000 tons.

Transportation and Energy Innovations Award: University of California at Irvine (UC Irvine) Transportation Services (Irvine, Calif.) – Sustainable Transportation. UC Irvine Transportation Services has implemented a suite of sustainable transportation projects across campus.  These projects have led to annual reductions of over 40.1 million vehicle miles traveled and 21,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Air Excellence awards program was established in 2000, and recognizes individuals that serve as pioneers in their fields, advance public understanding of air pollution and improve air quality.  Entries are judged by the EPA and the Clean Air Advisory Committee, and winners will be recognized later today at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

More information on the award winners: https://www.epa.gov/caaac/clean-air-excellence-awards