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News Releases from Region 04

Ned Sanders Recognized with 2019 Clean Air Excellence Awards

Nationally, clean air projects win EPA recognition for their innovative work on clean air projects

Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young (
(404) 562-8421 (Direct)

MACON, Ga.  (Nov. 7, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Ned Sanders with a 2019 Clean Air Excellence Award - the Thomas W. Zosel Individual Achievement Award, for spearheading an initiative that built a coalition of chief elected officials from each county and city in Middle Georgia to develop strategies and methods to improve the region’s air quality. The Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition (MGCAC) he helped create is still operating today.

Nationally, EPA recognized six groups and individuals for their innovative work on clean air projects. The 2019 Clean Air Excellence Awards are given to state, local, tribal, and private sector programs that educate the public in improving air quality or reducing harmful air pollutants that threaten health and the environment.

“Clean air and healthy, prosperous communities go hand in hand,” said Anne Idsal, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “For nearly 20 years, Clean Air Excellence award winners have been making a difference with new technologies, creative collaborations, and inspiring determination, and we applaud our latest winners for continuing to innovate and commit to building cleaner, healthier communities across the country.”  

“Protecting air quality requires innovative approaches and proactive measures,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “The Clean Air Excellence award recognizes and honors outstanding efforts to help make progress in achieving cleaner air.”

This year’s other winners include:

Clean Air Technology Award: Calgren Renewable Fuels/Maas Energy Works (Redding, Calif.) – Calgren Dairy Fuels Pipeline Project. Calgren Renewable Fuels and Maas Energy Works are pioneering the development of dairy digesters throughout the central valley of California, leading to emission reductions of methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other criteria pollutants by more than 130,000 MT-CO2e each year. Among those is the Calgren Dairy Fuels pipeline cluster. The digester at Circle A dairy that came online earlier this year is among more than a dozen facilities that will capture biogas from manure lagoons that would otherwise release pollutants into the atmosphere. 

Community Action Award: The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and Airshed Partners (Washington state) – Okanogan River Airshed Partnership. The Okanogan River Airshed Partnership is presently engaged with community clean-up events, establishing a community air quality network using PurpleAir sensors, running a woodstove change-out and buyback program, and pursuing creating a community composting facility, among other actions to reduce PM 2.5 in the community.

Education and Outreach Award: Children’s Environmental Health Network (Washington, D.C.) – Eco-Healthy Child Care® Program.  Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) is a national program, managed by the Children’s Environmental Health Network, that partners with child care professionals to eliminate or reduce environmental health hazards found in and around child care facilities. EHCC offers a two-year endorsement to child care facilities (both center and family child care) that qualify as “Eco-Healthy” by complying with twenty-four of thirty simple, free or low-cost environmental health best practices, including Air Quality, Household Chemicals and Radon, among other environmental hazards.

State/Tribal/Local/Air Quality Policy Award: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment - Air Pollution Control Division (Denver, Colo.) – Hydrocarbon Storage Tank and Vapor Control System Design, Operation and Maintenance Guidelines. On May 4, 2018 the APCD published and began implementation of the Storage Tank and Vapor Control System Guidelines document. Since publication, APCD staff have provided a series of outreach presentations explaining the guidelines to oil and gas operators and encouraging them to review their own programs and adopt storage tank design, operation and maintenance practices consistent with the guidelines. 

Transportation Efficiency Award: RideFinders (Richmond, Va.) – RideFinders Commute Green Summer Challenge. The RideFinders Commute Green Summer Challenge resulted in 6,014 greener trips, 119,028 lbs. of emissions prevented, 125,679 miles not driven, 5,391 reduced car trips, 6,073 gallons of gas saved, 49,638 calories burned, and $68,495 saved.  The campaign clearly demonstrated not just the numeric benefits of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs, but also the intangible benefits – education and awareness, public relations and relationship development – that help to make the case for TDM as mobility management and underscore TDM as a cost-effective approach to reducing pollution emissions and helping air quality. 

Established in 2000, the Clean Air Excellence awards recognize programs and individuals that serve as pioneers in their fields, advance public understanding of air pollution, and improve air quality. Entries are judged by the EPA and the Clean Air Advisory Committee, and winners will be recognized later today at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

More information on the award winners: