The Dane County Clean Air Coalition, a new public-private partnership formed to reduce harmful ozone levels, today called on citizens to join them in taking steps to lower ozone when Clean Air Action Days are called this summer.
Dane County Executive Falk announces the It All Adds Up To Cleaner Air campaign. Click to enlarge.
Clean Air Action Days will be called for the very first time in Dane County this summer when the air quality data and weather conditions indicate that ground-level ozone is predicted to reach a high level. A Clean Air Action Day lets people know that ozone could reach an unhealthy level for sensitive groups – children, older adults, people with asthma and adults engaged in vigorous outdoor activities.
Clean Air Action Days will be called during the upcoming summer months as part of the larger, voluntary It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air Campaign launched today by government, business and community leaders including Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, DNR Secretary Scott Hassett, DOA Secretary Marc Marotta, MG&E Chairman Gary Wolter, UW Chancellor John Wiley and Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Alexander.
“When all of us here saw that ozone is a threat to our health and wealth, we had to act to protect our community, said Falk. “I want to emphasize this is a proactive, preventative effort important for our environment, our economy and our health. Recent health statistics estimate that approximately 40,000 Dane County residents, or 11% of our citizens, suffer from asthma.”
“In order to keep our air clean and promote the health of our residents, I am proud to commit city resources to reduce ozone on Clean Air Action Days,” said Cieslewicz. “As part of that commitment, the city will provide free bus service on the first five Clean Air Action Days to encourage people to leave their cars behind on high ozone days and use mass transit. And because auto emissions increase substantially at speeds over 55 mph, the Madison Police will step up speed enforcement on the Beltline and other high-speed roads on Action Days.”
The Dane County Clean Air Coalition is a private/public partnership of businesses, schools, government agencies and citizens working together to voluntarily reduce air pollution, keep our air healthy and help ensure that Dane County continues to meet state and federal air quality standards.
During a Clean Air Action Day, all businesses, government agencies and citizens will be asked to do their share for cleaner air by engaging in ozone-reducing activities. These activities include: 1) Reduce vehicle travel by delaying trips, carpooling, biking, or taking the bus; 2) fuel vehicles after 6 p.m., 3) avoid lawn mowing, 4) reschedule painting and 5) conserve electricity.
All media in Dane County will be notified to report the Clean Air Action Day message on television, radio and in newspapers.
Dane County air quality currently meets state and federal standards. However, air pollution measurements taken during the past few years indicate that, especially as Dane County continues to grow, actions must be taken to ensure our air remains healthy into the future. The It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air Campaign is an innovative approach to reducing emissions in Dane County that will protect air quality while allowing continued economic development.
“Ozone pollution hurts our local economy, said Alexander. “If Dane County were to exceed federal air pollution standards, it would mean the burden of mandatory regulations to reduce air pollution that could cost citizens and businesses millions of dollars.”
Wiley said, “The University is committed to working on every front to prevent air quality from deteriorating. From changing our heating plant operations to alternative fuels for fleet use to free busses for students and staff, we will continue to be active in the coalition.”
Hassett noted,” Ozone travels across county and state boundaries. Emission reduction taken in one county will also benefit its downwind neighbors. We applaud Dane County’s pioneering role in voluntarily reducing emissions. We hope other counties follow your leadership.”
The Dane County Clean Air Coalition website is: www.cleanairdane.org
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Dane County Clean Air Coalition Members: City of Madison, Dane County, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Kraft Foods, Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Madison Gas & Electric Company, Madison Metropolitan School District, Petroleum Marketers Association of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Petroleum Council.