Metro wins Clean Air Hero award from SCAQMD

A nice nod for an important program at Metro that seeks to conserve electricity, water and fuel, among other environmental-friendly practices. The news release from the South Coast Air Quality Management District is below. Above please find Metro’s latest annual sustainability report, which includes a lot of interesting tidbits, statistics and graphics.

The news release:

SCAQMD to Honor Clean Air Heroes at Annual
Clean Air Awards Luncheon

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will host its 27th Annual Clean Air Awards on Friday, Oct. 2, honoring individuals and businesses, public agencies and others who are making significant contributions to cleaner air in the Southland.

The luncheon will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  Anthony Yanez, NBC4 News meteorologist, will emcee the event.

“Today we honor individuals and businesses, including a group of inspiring youths, for their innovation, passion and commitment to improving the air we all breathe,” said SCAQMD Governing Board Chairman William A. Burke, Ed.D.  “I applaud this year’s winners on their dedication and efforts to bring about change to benefit air quality in the region.”

SCAQMD’s 2015 Clean Air Award winners are:

S. Roy Wilson Memorial Award for Leadership in Government – Robert B. Weisenmiller, Ph.D., Chairman, California Energy Commission

Robert B. Weisenmiller has more than 30 years of public- and private-sector experience in electricity and gas markets and regulatory policymaking.  In January 2011, Weisenmiller was appointed as the engineer and scientist member and chair of the California Energy Commission (CEC) by Governor Jerry Brown and was re-appointed in January 2015.  Under his leadership, the CEC has leveraged opportunities to accelerate energy efficiency and renewable energy development and to minimize adverse localized impacts. When addressing complex issues related to grid reliability and modernization, Weisenmiller has emphasized enhanced collaboration with stakeholders, including air districts and communities. In addition, his board has directed significant co-funding toward advanced-technology development and deployment to improve the pace of bringing clean-energy infrastructure to the general marketplace.

Robert M. Zweig, M.D., Memorial Award – Afif H. El-Hasan, M.D., Pediatric Asthma Specialist, Kaiser Permanente, Orange County

Dr. El-Hasan seeks to optimize holistic patient care as a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente in Orange County. He has volunteered as a member of the SCAQMD Environmental Justice Advisory Group since 2009 and also co-chairs the Culturally Responsive Care Committee for Kaiser Orange County. In a November 2010 SCAQMD “On the Air” video interview, Dr. El-Hasan describes the personal satisfaction he receives from helping patients and their families deal with the symptoms of asthma.  In the video, he also shares that asthma and other health impacts are linked with greater exposure to transportation-related pollution, which encouraged him to become more involved in advocacy efforts to reduce or prevent such exposure through environmental justice solutions.

Award for Public Education on Air Quality Issues – Global Inheritance

Founded in 2002, Global Inheritance is dedicated to inspiring conscious, positive actions by people of all ages, and especially by young adults, to engage in more sustainable ways of living. The organization is headquartered in Los Angeles and over the past decade has presented innovative, active learning initiatives in 29 states, 73 cities, and five countries. Themes explore low-carbon, low-emission personal choices in daily life through activities such as Energy Playground where games generate usable electricity; TRASHed! Art of Recycling where bins become works of art; and Water Bar Oasis where firsthand contact offers a refreshing perspective on urban water resources. Focusing on interdisciplinary environmental awareness, Global Inheritance employs technology, the arts, science, and peer-enhanced learning to generate excitement and inspire people to become forward-thinking participants.

Award for Advancement of Air Pollution Technology – Phoenix Motorcars

Headquartered in the city of Ontario, Phoenix Motorcars is a clean vehicle systems design, engineering, testing, development, and production company focusing on offering electric vehicles for commercial and government fleets. Their Zero Emission Utility Shuttle (ZEUS) is ideal for airport and hotel shuttles due to their daily routes, centralized operation, and high fuel demands.  In addition to being environmentally friendly and quiet, these electric shuttles also offer lower maintenance costs over the total life of the vehicle. Available in multiple configurations to suit individual customer service needs, the ZEUS is currently operated by 105 Airport Parking as the first all-electric shuttle bus operating at Los Angeles International Airport, and by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena as a shuttle service for their employees. The ZEUS has a single-charge range of about 100 miles and is equipped to meet a two-shift-per-day schedule, seven days a week.

 Award for Model Community Achievement – Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for one of the country’s largest, most heavily populated counties. Over the past 25 years, Metro has developed an extensive mass rapid transit system consisting of more than 80 miles of urban rail, three Bus Rapid Transit routes, and the nation’s largest fleet of more than 2,200 alternative fuel buses.

Metro’s agency-wide Environmental Management System (EMS) weaves sustainability principles, best practices, and performance metrics into planning, construction, operation, and procurement activities throughout Metro’s major rail and bus facilities, managing areas of air quality, water, energy, and waste.  Based on this system, Metro developed a Green Construction Policy which U.S. EPA Region 9 has described as one of the most innovative market-based, non-regulatory mechanisms to reduce air quality impacts.

Award for Advancement in Innovative Transportation Projects – CommuteSM

CommuteSM is a Transportation Management Association formed in 2012 by RideAmigos, a local technology startup.  The collaborative partnership between RideAmigos and the city of Santa Monica is aimed at getting people who regularly drive alone to try other commute options such as carpooling, public transit, biking or walking in order to save money, ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and reduce stress. CommuteSM currently has about 65 registered companies, each with 50 or more employees, and operates an online, easy-to-use intuitive software. Using a multi-modal travel dashboard, users can browse potential ridesharing matches in their area, directly message startup carpools and, after participating in alternative-mode trips, can view their accrued cost, CO2 and calorie savings. This approach adds a friendly challenge element between individuals and companies that can maximize engagement.

Award for Promotion of Good Environmental Stewardship – Grades of Green

Launched as a national non-profit in 2010 by four moms, the mission of Grades of Green is to inspire and empower kids and school communities to think of environmental protection as second-nature in everyday living. Combining free website resources, voluntary on-campus coaching, and a Youth Corps Eco-Leadership Program, the organization over the last five years has engaged more than 225,800 students from 329 schools across 41 states, including numerous school districts in the South Coast basin. How-to instructions for over 40 fun, healthful, hands-on activities teach students how to recycle, compost, reduce emissions, save electricity, save water, reduce trash, learn about active transportation, and more. All activities use California’s peer-reviewed Education and the Environment curricula and often result in savings in campus operational costs. Under the Youth Corps program, students execute a year-long “Green Project” in their school community, receive leadership training from Grades of Green, and gain valuable lessons in teamwork.

Award for Promotion of Good Environmental Stewardship, Youth Award – Legacy LA

Legacy LA’s mission is to empower nearly 200 local youth to reach their full potential to build a legacy in their neighborhood of Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights, one of oldest public housing complexes in Los Angeles.  The Ramona Gardens area borders a busy 12-lane freeway, a rail line, heavily traveled surface streets, and an industrial district of factories and warehouses. The demographics of the approximately 5,000 residents are challenging due to high unemployment and poverty rates, and high incidence of asthma in seniors and children.  Legacy LA’s Youth Council is a leadership program where residents aged 14 to 18 can learn to collaborate with local stakeholders and public agencies. Under the Council’s Ramona Gardens 2020 Vision Plan, SCAQMD installed air filtration systems at two local elementary schools.

 SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.


Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

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