During its annual meeting, Clean Air Partners honored outstanding employers and individuals in the Baltimore-Washington region such as Prince George’s County and Montgomery County for their clean air initiatives and their participation in the Air Quality Action Days program. Over 500 organizations currently participate in the Air Quality Action Days program—300 of them are in the Washington region.
On Air Quality Action Days, Clean Air Partners encourages people to limit their exposure to the unhealthy levels of ozone in the air, wait until after dark to refuel their cars, defer lawn mowing with gasoline powered mowers, and limit their driving by teleworking, carpooling or taking transit.
“Prince George's County is very proud of its efforts at the local level to support the region-wide efforts to clean up our air,” said Prince George’s County Council Member Tom Dernoga, who also chairs COG’s Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. Prince George’s County was honored with the 2004 Program of the Year for a Local Agency Award. “Each local jurisdiction has the capability to do its part and we are pleased to do our part,” he said. Some of Prince George’s initiatives include a county-wide gas can exchange, citizen outreach to prevent activities that cause air pollution, and a new Clean Air Action Plan, which was launched earlier this summer.
COG Board Member and Montgomery County Council Member Nancy Floreen accepted the Clean Air Trendsetter Award on behalf of her county, which was honored for leading a wind energy purchase by a regional partnership.
“It represents the largest wind purchase ever conducted by a local government organization in the U.S.,” Floreen said. Five percent of the electricity used by the partnership comes from wind energy, saving the county approximately $5.4 million in electricity costs and reducing 5,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides per year.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council chartered Clean Air Partners (formerly ENDZONE partners) in 1997 because local elected officials, state air agencies and state transportation agencies recognized the need for a broad partnership to improve awareness and to encourage voluntary actions to clean the air.
The complete list of organizations and individuals that were honored are as follows:
· Program of the Year (Federal Agency): Andrews Air Force Base
· Program of the Year (Local Agency): Prince George’s County
· Program of the Year: Lockheed Martin, Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems
· Clean Air Trendsetter Award: Montgomery County
· Health Awareness Award: Julie Orlando, Northwest Hospital Center
· Outstanding Media Support (TV): Steve Fertig, FOX 45 Baltimore
· Outstanding Media Support (Print): Elizabeth Heubeck, Baltimore’s Child Magazine
· Outstanding Media Support (Print): D’Vera Cohn, The Washington Post
· Outstanding Supporters of 2004 Media Campaign: Commuter Connections
· Honorable Mention, Health Awareness: Fairfax County, Department of Aging
· Honorable Mention, Program of the Year (Federal Agency): National Park Service, Prince William Forest Park
· Honorable Mention, Program of the Year (Local Agency): Fairfax County Park Authority
· Clean Air Partners Chair 2003-2004: Catherine Pugh, Baltimore City
For COG’s air quality page, please visit www.mwcog.org/environment/planning-areas/air-quality/
For information on Air Quality Action Days, please visit www.cleanairpartners.net