Singled out for advancements in clean air technologies, improving public health and reducing greenhouse gases while growing the Southern California economy, nine companies and individuals received awards for their work on Friday in Los Angeles.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District held its 30th Annual Clean Air Awards ceremony at the Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, honoring the following recipients:
• Dr. Keith Black, a professor of neurosurgery and director of the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Brain Tumor Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center did extensive work in establishing a link between coarse air pollutants — such as fine particulates found in diesel exhaust — and brain tumor development.
His team at Cedars-Sinai also found that exposure to particulates may cause genetic changes in the brains of laboratory rats.
Black, a surgeon, has performed more than 6,000 operations and has published 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers.
• GRID Alternatives Inland Empire and its affiliates train 16-24 year-olds how to install solar panels while providing job training.
Their program, Solar Futures, brings college students during spring and summer breaks to low-income communities in Southern California to build solar and other clean-energy projects.
• Cal State Los Angeles’ EcoCAR 3’s Advanced Vehicle Training Competition, with sponsorships from GM and the U.S. Department of Energy, sparked interest in fossil-fuel alternatives for cars and other vehicles.
The four-year competition from 2014-2018 involved a redesign of a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into an ultimate, energy-efficient vehicle. The student team also built a plug-in hybrid for the police service.
• Speaking of electric cars, Tesla was awarded for its zero-emission, all-electric truck, which has a range of 300-500 miles.
Tesla’s clean air cars, models S, X and 3, have saved more than 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide so far. CO2 is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, which stay trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere for decades heating up the planet and altering climate events.
• In the area of cleaner trains, Metrolink, the six-county regional commuter rail service, upgraded its fleet of diesel-powered locomotives to become the first passenger rail service to operate Tier 4 F125 locomotives.
These cleaner-burning engines reduce emissions by 85 percent with 57 percent more horsepower. The changes in its fleet removes 13.75 tons of emissions per year, or equivalent to 783 passenger vehicles annually.
• State Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, was honored for his bill, SB 350, signed into law, which requires 50 percent of the electricity consumed in the state to come from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045.
• The city of Paramount was honored for addressing high levels of hexavalent chromium detected by the SCAQMD near metal-processing companies.
The city created an action project that included more code enforcement to aid AQMD inspectors and the launch of ParamountEnvironment.org to keep the public informed.
• As for electric buses, newcomer Proterra, with a factory in City of Industry, built zero-emission buses for Foothill Transit in West Covina and other transit agencies in the country.
Protera in 2017 set the world record for driving the longest distance ever on a single battery charge — an electric bus drove 1,101 miles with 660 kilowatt-hours of energy storage.
• Los Angeles World Airports, owner and operator of LAX and Van Nuys Airport, adopted a strategic plan with sustainability as a main objective.
The plan targets reductions in greenhouse gases to below 1990 levels; expansion of electric vehicle use; use of airplane biofuel and employee rideshare programs and the FlyAway bus service.
9 companies, individuals honored for clean air practices by SCAQMD, by Steve Scauzillo, by The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, October 5, 2018.