A Proud History

May 1st, 1998 – Southern Aluminum Finishing Company announces its effort to curb Ozone emissions.

NEWS STATUS: New Product News for Immediate Release May 1, 1998

This summer SAF will curb ozone emissions through the voluntary efforts of its employees.  Georgia has announced its plan to curb emissions in this way.  The full text of their plan follows here:

Georgia Environmental Protection,  Date: 2/19/1998
Summary: The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources today released its long-range plan to meet federal ground level ozone air quality standard.

February 19, 1998 – – Atlanta, Georgia. The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources today released its long-range plan to meet federal ground level ozone air quality standard. EPD’s projections indicate that the pollution control measures in the proposed plan will enable the Metro Atlanta area to meet the ozone standard, which has not been met in the last 18 years.

This plan relies on a mix of new controls including cleaner burning gasoline, emission reductions from power plants and other large industrial combustion sources, new commitments by the automobile industry to produce cleaner cars by 2001, new federal rules requiring cleaner diesel engines, and EPD’s Voluntary Ozone Action Program. These controls will reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides released into the air. Nitrogen oxides emissions are a main cause of ozone formation. Not all of these control measures can be put into place in time to meet the November 1999 federal deadline to attain the ozone standard, but EPD intends to implement the plan as quickly as possible. The plan should result in attainment of the ozone standards in a 2003 – 2005 time range.

A large part of the ozone problem in Metro Atlanta is caused by almost 2.8 million cars and light trucks registered in the 13-county area, which are being driven more than one hundred million miles per day. The emissions from this large fleet of vehicles and this very high number of daily miles traveled creates more than half of the pollutants that form ozone in Metro Atlanta. “Cleaner fuels and cleaner cars are a good step in the right direction to reduce these pollutants,” said Harold Reheis, Director of EPD, “however, we still need to get everyone in Metro Atlanta to drive fewer miles.”

Because Metro Atlantans drive so much, emissions from transportation sources exceed the emissions budget of 214 tons per day (tpd) of nitrogen oxides assigned in the ozone attainment plan by EPD. The present inability of the cars and trucks being operated in Metro Atlanta to stay under the 214 tpd emission level results in a condition called “nonconformity” in the federal clean air regulations.

Nonconformity carries with it limitations on how federal highway funds can be spent in the 13-county area (the 13 counties are: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale). When it adopted the federal Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990, Congress basically declared that road projects which create more air pollution potential (generally, projects which widen or lengthen existing roads) should not receive federal highway dollars in areas where the federal ozone air quality standards are not met, unless transportation emissions conform to the state emissions budget.

“The nonconformity situation on transportation sources does not need to result in any loss of federal highway funds to the Metro Atlanta counties,” said Reheis, “the federal monies can be spent on transit projects, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on the expressways, bicycle paths and sidewalks, and a variety of highway safety projects. These kinds of projects need to be included as transportation control measures in the State Implementation Plan in order to be eligible for federal funding. The Atlanta Regional Commission just needs to request that EPD put them in our plan.”

The Atlanta Regional Commission had proposed that EPD require North Georgia counties to reduce oxides of nitrogen by using a new formulation of gasoline called California Reformulated Gas. This would provide almost twice the reduction in nitrogen oxides compounds than does the Georgia gas proposed in EPD’s ozone plan. “We took a hard look at ARC’s proposal,” said Reheis, “and we contacted all of the major oil companies to see whether or not they could deliver sufficient quantities of reformulated gas to Metro Atlanta by 1999. Unfortunately, the oil companies simply do not have sufficient refinery capacity to provide the needs of the Metro Atlanta area. They can only provide about 7% of the amount of gasoline needed in 1999. While ARC’s proposal is a good idea, it is simply not feasible to implement yet due to refinery production capacity.”

The Atlanta Regional Commission had also suggested that EPD raise the emission budget for cars and trucks above 214 tpd by voluntarily “bumping up” to a more stringent ozone nonattainment category called “Severe”. Metro Atlanta is currently a “Serious” ozone nonattainment area. Urban areas like Houston, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and Baltimore are in the Severe category. EPD evaluated the option of “bumping up”, but believes that that option is not appropriate for three reasons. First, there are significantly more stringent limits on industrial emissions. This would make it very difficult to have new industries locate in the Metro Atlanta area, or to have existing industries expand their operations. Secondly, the Severe category would require immediate use of federal reformulated gasoline. Federal reformulated gasoline costs more than the low sulfur fuel proposed by EPD and does not reduce nitrogen oxides at all, so it would not help the ozone problem. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the Atlanta area simply cannot meet the ozone standards with more mobile emissions from cars and trucks. The budget for these mobile sources of emissions needs to be held level at best.

EPD will continue to work with ARC and the Department of Transportation to develop new plans for transportation projects that will, with EPD’s other control plans, get the metro area back into conformity as soon as possible. “The good news is that for the first time in the last seven years, we have been able to conclude that the Metro Atlanta area will be able to meet the ozone standards” said Reheis. “All previous evaluations only came up with infeasible solutions. I am delighted to report that our plan will get us to the standards and Metro Atlanta’s air will be cleaner and healthier for people to breathe.

Fore more information from the State of Georgia about this plan, click here.

Here is the text of a letter passed around to all employees as well as posted on SAF’s intranet.  If an SAF employee has a question about this program, please see your supervisor.

OZONE Giveaway!!
This program will start May 1,1998 and last until August 31,1998. Points will be rewarded for activities that cause employees to use less gasoline and therefor create less ozone.  We will award points for using alternate means for traveling to work including carpooling, bicycling, walking, and using public transportation.  We will also award points for bringing your lunch to work. Carpooling will be described as riding to and from work with one or more persons. This includes riding to work with someone that is not an employee of SAF. Riding public transportation includes any means of mass transit. Bringing your lunch to work will be described by eating a lunch at work and not leaving the premises during your lunch hour. If you carpool, use public transportation, and/or bring your lunch to work, 1 point will be awarded to you (or 2 points for both). On the day before ozone action days, signs will be placed around the plant notifying all employees of the action day. On those days, if an employee carpools, uses public transportation, and/or bring their lunch to work, 5 points (or 10 points for both) will be awarded to you. For every 5 points, a ticket will be awarded to that employee. At the end of each month, the total number of points for each employee will be added together. For example, if an employee has 14 points at the end of the month, he or she will be awarded 2 tickets. The tickets will be placed in a hat and at the end of each month a drawing will take place. The winning ticket will receive $100 cash. The total number of points will be kept on a spreadsheet.

The points will be awarded the following way:
Todd Hamilton will be in charge of the office, Johnny Brown will be in charge of the paint department, and Richard Brookshire will be in charge of the plant. These people will keep up with your total number of points.