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Oct. 16, 2002

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) hosted its 14th Annual Clean Air Awards Ceremony today to honor individuals, organizations, communities and businesses that have made significant contributions to cleaner air in the Southland over the past year.

A high school teacher, a physician, an Assembly Member, several area communities and two local businesses were among those recognized at the event, held in downtown Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

"This year’s Clean Air Awards luncheon is an acknowledgement of how extraordinary things can happen when the average person makes decisions on behalf of the environment," said Norma Glover, chairman of AQMD’s Governing Board.

The first-ever Robert M. Zweig, M.D. Memorial Award will be presented in honor of the Riverside physician who, because of his first-hand knowledge of the impact of air pollution on his patients, dedicated himself to eradicating smog and pursuing clean air alternatives to improve air quality.

AQMD’s 2002 Clean Air Award winners are:

Leadership in Government

Assembly Majority Floor Leader Marco Antonio Firebaugh (D-Cudahy) has demonstrated outstanding leadership in introducing legislation on health and transportation issues and has been a strong proponent of community-based programs to help clean the air. He is a member of the Select Committee on Air and Water Quality. Firebaugh was a key sponsor of legislation funding a mobile asthma treatment clinic known as a Breathmobile® that provides free screenings and treatment for children in Southeast Los Angeles area schools. He also introduced AB1390, an important piece of environmental justice legislation which won approval from Gov. Davis. It requires that at least 50 percent of state funding for diesel emission reduction programs be used to reduce emissions in areas that suffer disproportionate impacts of air pollution. Firebaugh’s commitment to the residents of his district is evidenced by his championing of programs that improve the quality of air that they breathe.

Riverside Transit Agency Board of Directors decided to convert its entire fleet of diesel-fueled buses to coaches powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), which produces significantly lower emissions. The RTA Board declared its stance on improving the environment when it voted to change a purchase order for 47 diesel and 47 CNG buses to an order of all CNG buses, even though a CNG bus can cost up to $50,000 more than a diesel-powered model. The first 47 CNG buses already have been delivered and the remaining 47 are expected to arrive later this fall.

Robert M. Zweig, M.D., Memorial Award

A pediatric and surgical specialist, Dan Hays, M.D. has served in a variety of capacities for the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles for the past 43 years. To educate policymakers and fellow Southern California residents on the health effects of poor air quality, in particular on children, he has given numerous talks to community groups and task forces. In the early 1970's, he testified in the State Capitol on air pollution issues. He was a member of the Coalition for Clean Air for more than 20 years, and has been a member of Clean Air Now since 1985.

As the first-ever recipient of the Robert M. Zweig Memorial Award, Dr. Hays' genuine commitment to advising the public of the medical concerns of poor air quality establishes a tradition of excellence that will continue to honor the legacy of Dr. Zweig.

Promotion of Good Environmental Stewardship

Angelo Logan is a crusader for better air quality in Commerce. His neighborhood in that city is subject to emissions from idling trains from the Commerce East Yard, manufacturing firms and intermodal equipment, heavy truck traffic on Washington Boulevard and the constantly congested Long Beach and Santa Ana Freeways. As the head of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Logan refuses to let these factors deter his efforts to clean up the air in his neighborhood. He has walked the streets conducting surveys and distributing fliers, urging residents to call AQMD when they are affected by nuisance odors. He has worked extensively with AQMD to get publications translated into Spanish. He is actively involved in AQMD Town Hall meetings, public workshops and committees. For all this work, Logan earns no money, which makes him a clean air hero in every sense of the term.

Advancement of Air Pollution Technology

Fortner Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. is a small Glendale firm that repairs aircraft components including hydraulic flight controls, actuators and linkages for airlines, and historically used vapor degreaser containing the toxic chemical 1,1,1-trichlorethane (TCA) for some cleaning needs. After the federal government banned TCA, the company converted to water-based cleaning systems, instead of adopting smog-forming or toxic solvents. Fortner reduced its solvent use by about 800 gallons, representing an emissions reduction of 2.8 tons per year of smog-forming volatile organic compounds. By making the conversion to safer alternatives, the company has accomplished true pollution prevention and has made the environment better for their workers, thus providing regional clean air benefits.

J.P. Turgeon & Sons, Inc. is a small family-run company in Bell Gardens that polishes metal parts. Historically the company used a vapor degreasing process based on 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) for cleaning the metals. Turgeon could have also converted to a strong VOC solvent as some companies did, but it chose not to. Instead, the firm purchased a conveyorized cleaning system that uses a water-based cleaner producing non-hazardous wastewater. One result of the conversion was that Turgeon reduced their annual costs by $40,000. They also eliminated the use and thus emissions of TCA amounting to 13.2 tons per year. Through a conversion to a safer water-based cleaner, Turgeon has demonstrated great leadership in making the conversion to an alternative that minimizes health and environmental risks.

Public Education on Air Quality Issues

Robert Franz is the advisor and teacher at the Academy of Engineering Program at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights. Under his guidance and direction the program has expanded over the years and educated hundreds of students about air quality. The academy has a tradition of integrating air quality curriculum with student-directed engineering projects. From building solar-powered cars to human-powered airplanes, students learn to use teamwork to design and construct large-scale projects. Many students are now pursuing college educations and/or careers in environmental and other fields based on their experiences with Franz at the academy.

Innovative Transportation Projects

CALSTART, Bikestation Coalition, Flexcar launched the City Wheels program in April 2002 as the nation’s first Clean Mobility Center (CMC), an innovative facility in Long Beach providing four types of zero-emission vehicles -- electric city cars, motor scooters and electric and conventional bicycles -- for convenient, short trips around town and from transit stops to their final destinations. There are no tailpipe emissions generated by utilizing the City Wheels program, which is operated seven days a week, and currently has 990 members.

City of Anaheim & Anaheim Transportation Network collaborated to create The Anaheim Electric Transportation Program to serve mobility needs of Anaheim guests, residents and businesses. Among their many accomplishments: an estimated 67 pre-1982 diesel and gasoline buses/shuttles were replaced with alternative fuel and electric fleets; local businesses incorporated 10 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) into their operations; residents in two low-income neighborhoods had an opportunity to use NEVs to assist with their transportation needs; and the RAV4 EV Metrolink Station Car Program provides connections for commuters from both of Anaheim’s Metrolink stations to employment facilities that are not served by fixed-route rail feeder services.

Model Community Achievements

The City of West Covina has become a model within the region for promoting comprehensive environmental and air quality programs. The city has established its own Environmental Management Department, which is used to promote air quality involving the public, businesses and government through enhanced transportation programs, recycling centers, improved energy conservation and environmentally sensitive zones. The city has also adopted an ordinance that links land use, transportation, and air quality decisions to minimize the number of peak period vehicle trips generated by additional land development, and to promote alternative transportation and improved air quality.

Special recognition will also be extended to KCBS reporter Linda Alvarez, who will act as the Master of Ceremonies at the awards luncheon.

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


This page updated: March 13, 2004