Press Room

May 1st, 1999 – Southern Aluminum Finishing Company announces its smog reduction plan.

NEWS STATUS: New Product News for Immediate Release May 1, 1999

Here is an article written by Todd Hamilton that appeared in SAF’s internal newsletter.

The hot and humid days of summer are rapidly approaching, and with it comes the official start of the smog season. The “Ozone Action Day” signs with which we became so familiar last summer will soon be appearing again, but in a slightly different form. To avoid confusion about what ozone actually is, Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) changed the name to “Smog Alert Days”. “Smog” brings to mind stronger images of poor air quality and will help to increase awareness of this ongoing problem. May 1 is the beginning of the smog season for Metro Atlanta.

As many of us already know, Metro Atlanta is considered in “serious” non-attainment for ground level ozone, thus creating serious economic and health issues for the region. Federal funds cannot be used on road construction projects in the region because of this non-attainment status. The almost 150,000 people in Metro Atlanta who suffer from chronic bronchitis or emphysema are endangered by ozone. Moreover, children and the elderly are most commonly affected by lung-burning ozone effects. Thus, air quality has quickly become a hot topic with individuals and businesses throughout Metro Atlanta.

Unfortunately for all of us here in Atlanta, these smog alert days are projected to become more frequent this coming season. Last year, we had 22 days in which we did not comply with the state’s one-hour ozone standard. The state is using tougher eight-hour ozone standards this year, which means that we could have two to three times as many smog alert days this summer.

For Metro Atlanta to meet its ozone standards, it will need the help of local employers and state government agencies. This summer, companies like Coca-Cola, Delta, Georgia Power and BellSouth will be encouraging their employees to carpool, take mass transit and telecommute. Even state government agencies will be required to reduce single vehicle trips by 20 percent every day this summer.

As part of SAF’s commitment to the environment, we will be doing our part again this year. Beginning on May 1, we will again start up our ozone day lottery, now renamed The Smog Alert Lottery. To refresh your memory, here is how it worked last year. Every SAF Employee who takes mass transit or carpools will be awarded with up to two points on non smog-alert days, one for the commute and one for eating lunch in. On smog-alert days, they will receive up to ten points, five for each activity. At the end of the month, each person will receive one ticket for every five points. We will then draw a ticket and the winner of the drawing will receive $100. The more you participate, the better your odds of winning. Ask the people who won last year, its easy money. But more importantly, your participation helps to improve our air quality.

Richard Brookshire is the leader of the Smog Team and will be collecting points for first-shift plant and maintenance employees. Richard Moore will collect points for second and third shift plant employees. Todd McKnight will be in charge of collecting points for the fabrication and receiving departments. Johnny Brown will collect points for the paint department and Todd Hamilton will collect points for the office.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials estimated that last year?s Ozone Action Days reduced traffic by 1.6 to 1.7 percent. While this does not seem significant, it is a good start. DOT officials feel that a 5 to 15 percent reduction in traffic is realistic.

We will all see additional changes affecting our lives in the very near future. By May 1, we will all be using clearer, low-sulfur gasoline in our cars. We will also be facing tougher emission standards. In fact, you could be required to pay as much as $550 to repair your car to pass the new emissions tests next year. Clearly, the Georgia EPD means business and they expect us all to do our part.

For more information on the State of Georgia’s Partnership for a Smog-Free Georgia please see
http://www.cleanaircampaign.com