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Recipients of South Coast AQMD's Clean Air Awards

2019 Award Recipients

The 31st Annual Clean Air Award recipients will be announced on Friday, October 4, 2019.  

Professor of the Practice of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment (Harvard C-CHANGE) Gina McCarthy led the US Environmental Protection Agency as Administrator from July 2013 to January 2017. Her tenure as EPA Administrator heralded a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, expressly linking it with global public health. She led EPA initiatives that cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases, and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts. McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. McCarthy worked with the United Nations and the World Health Organization on a variety of efforts and represented the U.S. on global initiatives to reduce high-risk sources of pollution. Gina McCarthy currently serves as Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard C-CHANGE). In this capacity, she leads the development of the School’s strategy in climate science, health, and sustainability; strengthens the climate science and health curriculum; and liaises with climate science leaders across the University.
Dr. Jill Johnston works to develop community-academic partnerships to advance environmental health and justice in disadvantaged urban and rural neighborhoods. Her research combines community engagement with exposure assessment and epidemiology to address environmental health concerns. In particular, she is interested in assessing exposure pathways to pollutants as a result of industrial activities. As Outreach Director for the USC Environmental Health Centers, Dr. Johnston has been working to increase awareness and build community capacity on issues such as urban oil wells in Los Angeles and the disappearing Salton Sea in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Dr. Johnston’s interest in environmental justice research emerged from years spent as a grassroots community organizer committed to establishing healthy built environments and effective community participation in decision-making processes. Dr. Johnston’s work has empowered communities to actively participate in air quality issues to improve public health and well-being within the South Coast AQMD’s jurisdiction.
Pacoima Beautiful is a grassroots environmental justice organization that provides education, impacts public policy, and supports local arts and culture in order to promote a healthy and sustainable San Fernando Valley. In particular, Pacoima Beautiful is committed to youth leadership training and education to develop leaders among its community residents. The organization provides youth with environmental education, tools to become advocates for sustainable changes in the environment, and leadership skills to participate in dialogues with government officials and community leaders. This investment in youth has resulted in long term and sustainable changes in the surrounding community. YUTEP members are leaders on their school campuses, via on-campus environmental clubs, and in the community. They have been ongoing advocates for clean air by hosting on campus events and participating in community events and meetings that support improving local air quality. Recently, USC Environmental Health Centers Community Engagement Team and Pacoima Beautiful partnered to engage YUTEP in a “Day in the Life, a Community Based Science and Media Project.” A Day in the Life brought visibility to the stories of youth of color living and organizing in the San Fernando Valley communities that experience a variety of environmental and pollution impacts. YUTEP is inspiring our youth to take action now and to become our next generation of advocates, scientists, engineers, artists and policy-makers for clean air.
Youth Leadership Institute by Alianza’s Youth Organizing Council (YO-C) prepares young adults in Eastern Coachella Valley to be future leaders by helping them put their values into words and their words into actions. YLI builds communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive community change that promotes social justice and racial equity. Four Salton Sea-area residents were united in their mission to produce a documentary. “Estamos Aquí: A Community Documentary” is a 30-minute video which reflects on a community impacted by environmental issues and highlights community voices and the future of the eastern Coachella Valley. As the Salton Sea in the east Coachella Valley continues to shrink, toxic dust and other airborne issues continue to affect those in the surrounding areas. The YO-C’s success is a product of its ambitious members and the desire to empower themselves with the skills to change their communities for the better. Estamos Aquí: A Community Documentary inspires and empowers youth and adults to work for clean air and a better quality of life for residents in Eastern Coachella Valley and serves as a role model for communities in Southern California and beyond.
In March 2017, San Bernardino Council of Governments (SBCOG) and partners Daylight Transport and BYD Motors celebrated the arrival of the first of 27 next-generation, zero-emission electric yard and service trucks in three disadvantaged communities in San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Fontana. The demonstration truck project is funded by $9 million from the California Air Resources Board climate change-fighting cap-and-trade program and another $10.2 million in cash and in-kind matching funds. The project is part of CALSTART, a non-profit consortium focusing on clean high-tech transportation and California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The project demonstrates 23 battery-electric 80,000-pound (GCVWR) Class 8 yard trucks and four 16,100-pound (GVWR) Class 5 service trucks. Three yard trucks and a service truck will operate at Daylight and the other 23 will operate at two BNSF Railway rail yards in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. Over the two-year duration of the demonstration project, the zero-emission trucks are expected to reduce emissions of about 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, 3,250 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 170 pounds of diesel soot.
California Safe Schools is committed to ensuring that all students, teachers, staff, and community members who attend, work or live near school sites are in a safe toxic-free environment. From its inception in 1998, California Safe Schools (CSS) has facilitated changes at the policy level as well as at the grassroots. CSS was an early advocate for the retrofit or replacement of diesel school buses to safeguard our children’s health. CSS has been dedicated to filling the protection gap through working cooperatively and successfully with members of the public, school districts, local, state, federal government officials, and regulatory agencies. For more than twenty years, CSS has led groundbreaking efforts to ensure that school children and the public have a right to learn, work, and live in a healthful environment free from environmental toxins. CSS spearheaded the most stringent pesticide policy in nation for schools called Integrated Pest Management. To date, California Safe Schools has provided direct assistance to millions of California school children, parents, teachers, school districts, and school employees, and members of the public, especially in environmental justice communities, through protective environmental health policies, legislation, and programs. The policies and programs CSS created have become national and international models.
The Port of Long Beach Academy of Global Logistics (AGL) at Cabrillo High School is a unique real-world educational experience for students on air quality, logistics, and zero-emissions technology. AGL combines academic curriculum with industry-relevant training to engage and inspire students living in West Long Beach which is an AB 617 community heavily impacted by air pollution from goods movement. Cabrillo High School senior students participated in the Zero Emissions Transformation Capstone project that began in fall 2018. They worked in groups of five, each focusing on a different aspect of the issue. Real-world industry experts on zero-emissions presented every other week and students participated in a field trip to learn about Port of Long Beach (POLB) operations. In spring 2019, the chosen lead student group presented their findings to POLB staff, school district representatives and CARB. Issues identified through the Capstone project include: 1) Air Quality and Climate Science: What health and climate related impacts are driving the need for transformation to a zero-emissions port? 2) Technology Development: What does it take to develop the equipment necessary to handle port operations without emissions? 3) Commercialization: What are the barriers to commercializing zero emissions terminal equipment? 4) Infrastructure: What type of infrastructure is needed to support this new equipment? 5) Finance and Funding 6) Workforce 7) Communications and Outreach. The program has captivated students and has proven to be a significant incentive to learn about air pollution and port operations. AGL has a positive impact on the local student population.
TTSI is a 3rd Party Logistics Provider with a commitment to being a good steward of the environment that surpasses others in the South Coast Air Basin. In fact, TTSI has pledged to replace 100 percent of their diesel fleet with near-zero emission trucks. These trucks will be fueled with renewable natural gas resulting in a 90 percent reduction in NOx pollution and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent. This steep reduction in air pollution will benefit communities most impacted by the goods movement activities related to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Since the inception of the initial Clean Air Action Program in 2007, TTSI has been working to improve its fleet with the most advanced truck technology available in the industry. In 2008, TTSI ordered 106 clean diesel trucks, totally converting their drayage fleet to "Clean". In the same year, TTSI started operating liquefied natural gas trucks in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In 2010, TTSI introduced the world's first Class 8, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Drayage Truck. And, since 2015, TTSI has been demonstrating battery electric and fuel cell technology. TTSI’s goal is to operate a complete zero emission fleet in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. TTSI is setting the new “green” standard for their willingness to adopt cleaner technologies early, and for their commitment to reducing their footprint to improve the quality of life for all those living in and near the Southern California goods movement complex.
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is currently deploying 30 zero emission, battery-electric powered, Class 6 and Class 8, heavy-duty trucks in the South Coast Air Basin. This project provides immediate emission reductions in environmental justice and AB 617 communities such as West Long Beach, while simultaneously providing a catalyst to accelerate the development and scaled deployment of several innovative mobile-source air pollution control technologies that have potential for commercialization in the near term. The deployment of the 30 trucks will displace over 472,000 gallons of diesel fuel use per year. Annually, these electric trucks will reduce nitrogen oxide, reactive organic gases and particulate matter 2.5 emissions in the region by 17.77 tons per year. These emission reductions will benefit communities that are heavily impacted by diesel emissions. Further, the operation of these thirty zero-emission units will generate significant volumes of data and information on a multitude of pertinent issues relating to the commercial and operational viability of all-electric heavy-duty trucks. Additionally, the project will help train regional fleet operators how to operate, maintain, and repair these vehicles and will provide the foundation for future deployment of clean air trucks. This specialized training provides essential job creation, retention, and advancement opportunities within the Southern California fleet community. The project will also help develop cutting-edge heavy-duty electric truck charging infrastructure at critical locations throughout the South Coast Air Basin.

Award Recipients

In 1989, the South Coast AQMD hosted the first annual Clean Air Awards and recognized outstanding businesses, organizations, municipalities, and individuals who have championed the southland's fight for clean air. Since then, nearly 300 Clean Air Heroes have been awarded for their efforts to clean the air. Each year, awards are presented in five categories which include Air Pollution Technology, Innovative Transportation Projects, Model Community Achievements, Promotion of Good Environmental Stewardship, and Public Education on Air Quality Issues. In addition to the five awards presented each year, the South Coast AQMD honors two faithful clean air advocates by presenting the Robert M. Zweig, M.D. Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award and S. Roy Wilson Memorial Award for Leadership in Government.

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