Newsroom: Press Release Archive: February 2006
  • Feb. 28, 2006: Governors Napolitano and Richardson Launch Southwest Climate Change Initiative
  • Feb. 22, 2006: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Thursday, February 23
  • Feb. 17, 2006: ADEQ Recognized as First State Government Building in Arizona to Receive Energy Star Award
  • Feb. 16, 2006: ADEQ Issues Air Quality Permit for Snowflake Biomass Facility in Navajo County
  • Feb. 15, 2006: ADEQ Makes Grants Available to Little Leagues to Promote Recycling
  • Feb. 14, 2006: ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Wednesday, February 15
  • Feb. 14, 2006: ADEQ Certifies First "Green Shops" Under Green Business Program
  • Feb. 13, 2006: ADEQ Issues Health Watch for Payson, Pine and Strawberry Due to Smoke from the February Fire
  • Feb. 13, 2006: Governor Napolitano, ADEQ Director Owens Announce $40,000 Grant to Pima County to Clean Up Border Waste
  • Feb. 9, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Sixteen Cochise County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program
  • Feb. 9, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Three Graham County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program
  • Feb. 9, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Two Greenlee County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program
  • Feb. 9, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Twelve Pima County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program
  • Feb. 9, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Two Santa Cruz County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program
  • Feb. 8, 2006: ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from the February Fire
  • Feb. 2, 2006: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Friday, February 3
  • Feb. 1, 2006: ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Thursday, February 2
  • Feb. 1, 2006: ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Yuma Union High School District's Participation in School Bus Idling Program

Governors Napolitano and Richardson Launch Southwest Climate Change Initiative
Arizona, New Mexico team up to protect regional water supplies, reduce emissions

PHOENIX (Feb. 28, 2006) -- Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today signed an agreement launching the Southwest Climate Change Initiative, which establishes a framework for the two states to collaborate on strategies to address the effects of climate change in the Southwest and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Under the Initiative, Arizona and New Mexico will collaborate on a number of climate change-related actions, including: development of consistent approaches for measuring, forecasting and reporting greenhouse gas emissions; giving credit for greenhouse gas reduction actions; identifying options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; promoting climate change mitigation actions, energy efficient technologies and clean and renewable energy sources that enhance economic growth; and advocating for regional and national climate policies that reflect the needs and interests of Southwestern states.

In the document establishing the Initiative, the Governors declare that "Southwestern states have particular concerns about the impacts of climate change and climate variability on residents, businesses and the environment, including the potential for prolonged drought, severe forest fires, warmer temperatures, increased snowmelt, reduced snowpack and other effects."

They also state that "actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as energy conservation and development of renewable energy sources, may have multiple benefits, including economic development, job creation, cost savings and improved air quality that are not limited to state boundaries."

"In the Southwest, water is absolutely essential to our quality of life and our economy," said Governor Richardson. "Addressing climate change now, before it is too late, is the responsible thing to do to protect our water supplies for future generations."

"In the absence of real action at the federal level, states are stepping forward to address the serious issues presented by climate change," Governor Napolitano said. "Governor Richardson and I want to ensure that our states work closely together as we review and implement the recommendations that will come from our respective Climate Change Advisory Groups. We also will continue to exchange information and ideas about ways to deal with the impacts of climate change across the Southwest."

Governors Napolitano and Richardson each issued Executive Orders in 2005 creating stakeholder-based Climate Change Advisory Groups (CCAG). The groups are charged with developing recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their respective states. The Arizona CCAG is scheduled to make its recommendations by the end of June this year; the New Mexico group will report by December. New Mexico has also joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, becoming the first state in the nation to sign up for this greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading program.

The Governors signed this agreement today in Washington during the National Governor's Association Winter Meeting.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Thursday, February 23

PHOENIX (Feb. 22, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has issued a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Thursday, February 23 due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse particulate matter (PM10) that could exceed unhealthy levels in the Phoenix metro area.

The return of near-stagnant winds and the continued dry conditions in the Phoenix metro area are combining with the pollution buildup experienced during the work week to produce unhealthy levels of PM10. Thursday's forecast marks the 23rd High Pollution Advisory of the 2005-2006 winter season.

"The Phoenix metro area has had 127 consecutive days without rain,"said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "We are again experiencing the same type of weather pattern that has persisted over the last few months. These conditions continue to exacerbate our underlying air quality problems."

To help reduce PM10 particulate levels, ADEQ is urging people to limit driving, use the bus, carpool, telecommute and reduce dust-generating activities where possible. A HPA also alerts businesses to implement their travel reduction plans.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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ADEQ Recognized as First State Government Building in Arizona to Receive Energy Star Award

PHOENIX (Feb. 17, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced the ADEQ office building located at 1110 West Washington Street is the first State of Arizona building to earn the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star award for superior energy efficiency and environmental performance in 2005.

"I want to congratulate ADEQ for improving state government efficiency," Governor Napolitano said. "We strive to reduce costs and create environmentally friendly working conditions for our employees and ADEQ has succeeded in these efforts."

Energy Star is a federal program helping businesses, consumers and government protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Building owners earn the Energy Star by scoring in the top 25 percent on the EPA's energy performance rating system. Energy Star-qualified buildings use up to 40% less energy than typical buildings.

"ADEQ is dedicated to being energy efficient," ADEQ Director Steve Owens said. "We are proud to receive the Energy Star award for 2005, and encourage others to work toward achieving these energy efficient standards."

The Energy Star recognition plaque was installed at ADEQ earlier this week.

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ADEQ Issues Air Quality Permit for Snowflake Biomass Facility in Navajo County

PHOENIX (Feb. 16, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ has issued an air quality permit to Snowflake White Mountain Power LLC for a wood-fired generating station at the company's Snowflake facility in Navajo County.

The generating station will be fueled by paper fiber from the Abitibi paper recycling mill and waste wood and bark from nearby forest salvage operations. The station would have a capacity of 22 Megawatts.

"This biomass facility will help diversify energy production in Arizona, and provide a source of cleaner, renewable energy for our state," said Director Owens. "Facilities like this will help secure Arizona's energy future."

Under Arizona law, the permit is issued for a term of 5 years.

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ADEQ Makes Grants Available to Little Leagues to Promote Recycling

PHOENIX (Feb. 15, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that ADEQ is again providing recycling grants to Arizona Little Leagues to promote recycling and prevent littering at baseball fields across the state.

Under the Little League Recycling and Litter Control Project, ADEQ provides funding to Little League organizations throughout Arizona for banners promoting recycling to be displayed at their ball fields and for recycling containers to be placed at the fields.

ADEQ established the Little League Recycling and Litter Control Project as a pilot program in 2004 with funding going to 12 leagues. Participation doubled in 2005 when ADEQ provided grants to establish recycling programs at baseball fields for 25 leagues. This year, ADEQ is making a total of $15,000 available to Little Leagues interested in participating in the recycling project.

"The program is now in its third year and has been a grand slam," said ADEQ Director Owens. "The more kids know about recycling, the more they want to recycle. This program helps our kids, helps the Little Leagues, and most importantly, helps the environment."

Little Leagues interested in applying for grant funding from ADEQ should contact Juli Boles, manager of the recycling program at (602) 771-4170 or toll free at (800) 234-5677, or by email to [email protected] Program forms and the required application, as well as further information, are available on ADEQ's web site.

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ADEQ Issues High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Wednesday, February 15

PHOENIX (Feb. 14, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has issued a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) through Wednesday, February 15 due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse particulate matter (PM10), or dust, that could exceed unhealthy levels in the Phoenix metro area.

A high wind event being forecast to reach the Valley around noon Wednesday is the main factor which could lead to increased levels of particulate matter. Wednesday's forecast marks the 22nd High Pollution Advisory of the 2005-2006 winter season.

"Unfortunately, the winds won't be strong enough to help clear out the pollution," said ADEQ Director Steve Owens. "This wind event will just add to our current air pollution problems."

To help reduce PM10 levels, ADEQ is asking that people limit driving, use the bus, carpool, telecommute, and reduce dust-generating activities where possible. A HPA also alerts businesses to implement their travel reduction plans.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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ADEQ Certifies First "Green Shops" Under Green Business Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 14, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that three auto repair centers in Tucson are the first facilities in the state to be certified as "Green Shops" under ADEQ's Green Business program.

The innovative "Green Shops" program, a public-private partnership with the Automobile Association of America (AAA), gives automotive service facilities an opportunity to promote an environmentally responsible approach to car repair. "Green Shops" set high standards for pollution prevention and resource conservation as well as follow procedures designed to minimize waste generation.

Automotive facilities that receive the Arizona Green Business certification can display a sign with the Green Business logo, showing customers that they are doing their part to protect the environment. The first auto repair centers certified as Green Shops are:

  • AASTRO Transmission, 8150 E. 22nd Street, Tucson
  • AASTRO Transmission, 4443 W. Ina Road, Tucson
  • Milex Auto Service Center, 6911 E. Broadway Boulevard, Tucson

"The first auto repair shops to be certified under the Arizona Green Business program are being recognized for going above and beyond the minimum requirements of the law and being good environmental stewards," said ADEQ Director Owens. "The actions taken by these auto repair shops should encourage other businesses in the industry to join the Green Shops program."

Arizona Green Shops examine their front-office processes, parts-management programs, housekeeping, parts cleaning and degreasing, fluid recycling and energy-use policies to reduce or prevent pollution.

ADEQ partnered with AAA Arizona to establish the automotive repair sector as the first industry in ADEQ's Green Business program. Under the partnership, AAA inspects and certifies the facilities based on criteria developed by ADEQ.

For more information about the program please visit our site.

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ADEQ Issues Health Watch for Payson, Pine and Strawberry Due to Smoke from the February Fire

PHOENIX (Feb. 13, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens said today that ADEQ has issued an air pollution Health Watch for Tuesday, February 14 for Payson, Pine and Strawberry in Gila County due to smoke from the February Fire.

ADEQ issues a Health Watch when pollution levels have reached a point at which people with respiratory or other health problems that make them more sensitive to air pollution need to be advised and limit their outdoor activity.

"We are issuing the Health Watch out of an abundance of caution," Owens said. "Residents with asthma or other respiratory problems, especially children and seniors, should consider taking precautions, such as remaining indoors or limiting their activity, especially if they smell or see smoke from the February fire."

The highest concentrations of smoke will probably occur in the early morning hours, Owens added.

The February fire, caused by an abandoned campfire, broke out Monday, February 6.

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Governor Napolitano, ADEQ Director Owens Announce $40,000 Grant to Pima County to Clean Up Border Waste

PHOENIX (Feb. 13, 2006) -- Governor Janet Napolitano and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens announced today that ADEQ will award a grant to Pima County to clean up debris and waste left by individuals crossing illegally into Arizona from Mexico.

The $40,000 in ADEQ funds will be provided to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, and will primarily be used to identify and locate waste sites and begin the cleanup process. Pima County will also purchase trash containers for the area with the grant monies.

Owens said that millions of pounds of trash are left in the Arizona desert near the border each year, including items such as soiled diapers, bloody bandages, unlabeled pills, rotted food and containers, drug paraphernalia and various other kinds of hazardous debris.

"The garbage left behind by people setting up these campsites is definitely an eyesore, but more importantly, it is dangerous and poses an environmental problem," said Governor Napolitano. "Even though removing this trash is clearly a federal responsibility, the state will help local communities in making some headway in cleaning up the area."

"We are pleased to join with Pima County to address this major environmental problem in southern Arizona," said Owens. "This is a much-needed step forward toward solving the problem of dumping by undocumented individuals crossing the border illegally, with all the accompanying health and safety hazards these crossings are creating in Pima County."

During meetings with federal environmental officials, Napolitano and Owens have raised the issue of waste left behind by illegal border crossers, urging the federal Environmental Protection Agency to provide the resources to clean the area along the border.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Sixteen Cochise County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 9, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that sixteen school districts in Cochise County have joined ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program, a component of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project, to protect children from harmful diesel emissions from unnecessary school bus idling. The sixteen participating Cochise County districts are:

  • Apache Elementary School District
  • Ash Creek Elementary School District
  • Benson Unified School District
  • Bisbee Unified School District
  • Bowie Unified School District
  • Cochise School District
  • Douglas Unified School District
  • Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools
  • McNeal Elementary
  • Naco Elementary District
  • Palominas School District
  • Pearce Elementary School
  • San Simon School District
  • Sierra Vista Public Schools
  • Tombstone Unified School District
  • Wilcox Unified School District

Key elements of the School Bus Idling Program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turning on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions," Owens said. "We are delighted to have sixteen Cochise County districts participating in the program, and hope their participation will encourage more school districts to follow suit."

The program was launched as a pilot in August 2004 by ADEQ Director Owens with seven school districts. The program now has expanded to roughly 140 districts around the state, representing every county in Arizona.

ADEQ will recognize all participating districts in Cochise County during a February 21 event at the State Capitol.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Three Graham County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 9, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that three school districts in Graham County have joined ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program, a component of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project, to protect children from harmful diesel emissions from unnecessary school bus idling. The three participating Graham County districts are:

  • Fort Thomas Unified School District
  • Klondyke
  • Thatcher Unified School District

Key elements of the School Bus Idling Program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turning on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions," Owens said. "We are delighted to have three Graham County districts participating in the program, and hope their participation will encourage more school districts to follow suit."

The program was launched as a pilot in August 2004 by ADEQ Director Owens with seven school districts. The program now has expanded to roughly 140 districts around the state, representing every county in Arizona.

ADEQ will recognize all participating districts in Graham County during a February 21 event at the State Capitol.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Two Greenlee County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 9, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that two school districts in Greenlee County have joined ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program, a component of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project, to protect children from harmful diesel emissions from unnecessary school bus idling. The two participating Greenlee County districts are:

  • Duncan Unified School District
  • Morenci Unified School District

Key elements of the School Bus Idling Program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turning on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions," Owens said. "We are delighted to have two Greenlee County districts participating in the program, and hope their participation will encourage more school districts to follow suit."

The program was launched as a pilot in August 2004 by ADEQ Director Owens with seven school districts. The program now has expanded to roughly 140 districts around the state, representing every county in Arizona.

ADEQ will recognize all participating districts in Greenlee County during a February 21 event at the State Capitol.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Twelve Pima County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 9, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that twelve school districts in Pima County have joined ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program, a component of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project, to protect children from harmful diesel emissions from unnecessary school bus idling. The twelve participating Pima County districts are:

  • Ajo Unified School District
  • Altar Valley School District
  • Amphitheater Public Schools
  • Catalina Foothills School District
  • Continental School District
  • Indian Oasis-Baboquivari Unified District
  • Marana Unified School District
  • Sahuarita Unified School District
  • Sunnyside Unified School District
  • Tanque Verde Unified District
  • Tucson Unified School District
  • Vail School District

Key elements of the School Bus Idling Program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turning on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions," Owens said. "We are delighted to have twelve Pima County districts participating in the program, and hope their participation will encourage more school districts to follow suit."

The program was launched as a pilot in August 2004 by ADEQ Director Owens with seven school districts. The program now has expanded to roughly 140 districts around the state, representing every county in Arizona.

ADEQ will recognize all participating districts in Pima County during a February 21 event at the State Capitol.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Two Santa Cruz County School Districts Participating in School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 9, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that two school districts in Santa Cruz County have joined ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program, a component of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project, to protect children from harmful diesel emissions from unnecessary school bus idling. The two participating Santa Cruz County districts are:

  • Patagonia Union High School
  • Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District

Key elements of the School Bus Idling Program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turning on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions," Owens said. "We are delighted to have two Santa Cruz County districts participating in the program, and hope their participation will encourage more school districts to follow suit."

The program was launched as a pilot in August 2004 by ADEQ Director Owens with seven school districts. The program now has expanded to roughly 140 districts around the state, representing every county in Arizona.

ADEQ will recognize all participating districts in Santa Cruz County during a February 21 event at the State Capitol.

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ADEQ Monitoring Smoke from the February Fire

PHOENIX (Feb. 8, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that air quality monitoring equipment is being deployed near Payson, Pine and Strawberry in Gila County to monitor ambient air quality around the February Fire.

The fire has consumed more than 1000 acres in northern Gila County and has impacted visibility in portions of the county.

"We are monitoring air quality to keep track of any significant impact from the smoke and notify the public immediately if it poses a risk to area residents," Owens said. "We want to make sure that we take every precaution to protect area residents from any potential health effects from the smoke."

ADEQ's air quality monitoring equipment will collect and assess data for particulate matter, a major air pollutant found in wildfire smoke.

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Friday, February 3

PHOENIX (Feb. 2, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Friday, February 3 due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse particulate matter (PM10) that could exceed unhealthy levels in the Phoenix metro area.

Near-stagnant winds and the continued dry conditions in the Phoenix metro area are combining with the pollution buildup experienced during the work week to produce unhealthy levels of PM10.

The HPA, which has been in effect since Wednesday, urges people with respiratory illnesses to reduce their outdoor activities on Friday.

To help reduce PM10 particulate levels, ADEQ is urging people to limit driving, use the bus, carpool, telecommute and reduce dust-generating activities where possible. A HPA also alerts businesses to implement their travel reduction plans.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's Web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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ADEQ Extends High Pollution Advisory for PM10 Particulates for Phoenix Metro Area for Thursday, February 2

PHOENIX (Feb. 1, 2006) -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Thursday, February 2 due to forecast weather conditions expected to generate levels of coarse particulate matter (PM10) that could exceed unhealthy levels in the Phoenix metro area.

Near-stagnant winds and the continued dry conditions in the Phoenix metro area are combining with the pollution buildup experienced during the work week to produce unhealthy levels of PM10.

The HPA urges people with respiratory illnesses to reduce their outdoor activities on Thursday.

To help reduce PM10 particulate levels, ADEQ is urging people to limit driving, use the bus, carpool, telecommute and reduce dust-generating activities where possible. A HPA also alerts businesses to implement their travel reduction plans.

Daily air quality forecasts are located on ADEQ's web site or by telephone at (602) 771-2367.

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ADEQ Director Steve Owens Announces Yuma Union High School District's Participation in School Bus Idling Program

PHOENIX (Feb. 1, 2006) -- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens today announced that Yuma Union High School District has joined ADEQ's School Bus Idling Program to protect children from harmful diesel emissions from unnecessary school bus idling.

The program is part of ADEQ's Children's Environmental Health Project to reduce environmental risks to children's health.

Key elements of the School Bus Idling Program include having drivers turn off buses upon reaching a school or other location and not turning on the engine until the vehicle is ready to depart; parking buses at least 100 feet from a school air intake system; and posting appropriate signage advising drivers to limit idling near the school.

Idling school buses can expose school children to diesel exhaust on a daily basis, Owens said. Diesel emissions can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and have been linked to heart and lung disease. One of the primary components of diesel emissions, carbon monoxide, also can reduce alertness and learning capacity in children.

"Our goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful diesel emissions,"Owens said. "We are delighted that Yuma Union is participating in the program."

The program was launched as a pilot in August 2004 by ADEQ Director Owens with seven school districts. The program now has expanded to roughly 140 districts around the state, representing every county in Arizona.

ADEQ will recognize Yuma Union High School District and other participating districts during a February 21 event at the State Capitol.

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