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Port of Long Beach, Ventura County honored by U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Awards Program

Release Date: 05/13/2009
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815, cell (213) 798-1404,

City of Tulare, LEHR, Inc. also honored for commitment to clean air

LOS ANGELES – A Southern California port that rewards air pollution reduction, a regional air quality agency that produced an inspiring film stressing the importance of air, a fuel cell using community, and an innovative garden products manufacturer are among the recipients of this year’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence Awards Program.

The EPA is honoring the Port of Long Beach, Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, City of Tulare Public Works Department and Los Angeles-based LEHR Inc. at the Ninth Annual Clean Air Excellence Awards being held today in Washington, DC.

"Congratulations to these Clean Air Excellence Awards winners - their innovative policies, cutting-edge projects and future-thinking products further launch our nation's commitment to cleaner, healthier air,” said Deborah Jordan, the EPA’s Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest.

The EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Awards program honors innovative efforts in achieving cleaner air. The awards are divided into five categories; clean air technology, community action, education/outreach, regulatory/policy innovations and transportation efficiency innovations -- with additional special awards for visionary programs and individual achievement.

The Port of Long Beach’s Green Flag Incentive Program
This $2.2 million per year program provides incentives for ships to voluntarily slow down within 20 nautical miles of the harbor, decreasing fuel consumption and reducing air pollution in communities surrounding Long Beach. Vessel operators who achieve 90 percent compliance in a calendar year are eligible for a 15 percent reduction in their dockage rates.

In 2008 compliance reached 93 percent, so this year the Port of Long Beach expanded the program to offer additional incentives for ships that slow down within 40 nautical miles of the harbor to further reduce air pollution.

LEHR Incorporated has developed the LEHR Eco Trimmer, the first hand-held garden tool fueled by propane. LEHR’s new technology addresses the need for the clean air benefits of propane in the handheld and portable power tool market.

Compared to gasoline combustion, propane combustion produces 97 percent less particulates, 96 percent less carcinogens and less CO, hydrocarbons, and NOx. In addition, it has zero ozone depleting potential. According to the EPA, the Eco Trimmer surpasses the 2011 exhaust emissions standards for hydrocarbons by over 65 percent and carbon monoxide by nearly 75 percent. For more information, please visit

City of Tulare Public Works Department
Located in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the City of Tulare’s Renewable Biogas Fuel Cell Project uses digester gas from the city‘s wastewater treatment plant for cogeneration of electricity, while maintaining a nearly zero emission standard. This project is important to San Joaquin Valley, which is an extreme non-attainment air basin where there is an excessive number of hospitalizations due to air pollution related diseases.

Each of the three fuel cells in the plant generates approximately 300 kilowatts (kW), which together equate to approximately $2,500 worth of electricity per day. In addition to generating electricity with little to no emissions, the fuel cells give use to digester gas that was previously burned in a flare.

Ventura County Air Pollution Control District
Air – The Search for One Clean Breath,” is a high definition film created by the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District with support from the EPA, the National Geographic Society and others. Narrated by Tony Award winning actor Joe Mantegna, the film showcases air as a vital resource to be protected. Viewers take a guided tour of the story of air, from its ancient beginnings to today’s clean air technologies. In addition, a teacher’s guide to the film will be available in summer 2009 that will contain lessons in social science, science, and history and can be located on the film’s Web site at

The EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Awards Program was established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, a senior-level policy committee that advises EPA on implementing the Clean Air Act.

For more information, please visit:

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