Ozone Alert! Program’s 20th Season Concludes

NCOG recently celebrated the end of Ozone Alert season. As part of the celebration, INCOG recognized partners in their effort. From left on the back row, Deborah Perry, Benham; Karen Keith, Tulsa County Commissioner; and Jim Resinger, Holly Refining & Marketing. On bottom , Jim Bachmann, Lafarge Tulsa Plant; Molly Jones, Benham; Nancy Graham, INCOG; Andrew Haar, Holly Tulsa Refinery; and Daniel Cameron, GTR Newspapers.

(Tulsa, OK) – On Wednesday morning, October 13, 2010, the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Ozone Alert! Program marked the end of another successful summer ozone season. Local officials and other program associates gathered at the Dilly Deli (402 E. 2nd Street) in Downtown Tulsa to present the 2010 season’s Ozone ScoreCard and to recognize four businesses for outstanding participation in the Ozone Alert! Program this season. 

The Ozone Alert! Program brings citizens, business, industry and governments in the Tulsa metropolitan area together to voluntarily reduce ozone-forming emissions on days vulnerable to high ozone levels.  Despite five Ozone Alert! Days and two exceedances this summer, the metro area remained in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 8-hour ozone standard.  In 2009, there were eleven Alert! Days and six days the ozone standard was exceeded.

Tulsa developed the very first Ozone Alert! Program in the nation in 1991.  Since then, many other metro areas around the country have replicated its success.  “Clean air matters – that’s why the Ozone Alert! Program is important”, stated Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith who presented at the event. “Tulsa County’s ozone levels have greatly improved over the past twenty years”. 

Ozone Alert! Days in the Tulsa area are during the summer months, when forecasts indicate conditions may make for unhealthy levels of ozone. Ground-level ozone is a primary component of smog and creates significant health and respiratory problems; especially for children, senior citizens and people with asthma.

Holly Corporation Tulsa Refinery, Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, Lafarge Tulsa Cement Plant and Benham Tulsa each received special recognition at the event.  These stellar partner organizations were awarded for their unique and extemporary participation in this season’s Ozone Alert! Program. 

About Holly Corporation

Holly Refining & Marketing – Tulsa LLC, is a subsidiary of Holly Corporation.  The Tulsa refinery produces high value specialty lubricants, oils and waxes that it distributes nationwide and internationally while marketing diesel and gasoline in the Mid Continent Region.  In June 2009, Holly Corporation acquired the Tulsa refinery and seamlessly stepped into partnership with the Ozone Alert! Program and the other Tulsa area fuel providers to voluntarily provide the important cleaner-burning summer gasoline to the area. Low Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline reduces transportation related emissions which create ozone. Holly Corporation’s achievements and contributions to improve air quality in the Tulsa area, however, did not stop there.  Between the 2009 and 2010 ozone seasons, Tulsa’s Holly refinery completed a major series of industrial improvement projects to significantly decrease air emissions – including emissions that form ground-level ozone.  Through the installation of a gas recovery system, wet gas emission scrubbers, and selective catalytic reduction technology, Holly has reduced the refinery’s hydrocarbon emissions by 42% and oxides of nitrogen emission by an astonishing 71%!  Sulfur (SO2) and particulate reductions have also been tremendous, with a 95% and 73% reduction respectively.

About Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers

Established in 1993 just after the Ozone Alert! Program was born, Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers (GTR) is a locally-owned family business and a news and information anchor to the Tulsa and surrounding community.  Through a newspaper network reaching out extensively to six metropolitan locations throughout the region, GTR Newspapers has partnered with the Ozone Alert! Program in efforts worthy of recognition. 

GTR Newspapers’ contribution to cleaner air and the Ozone Alert! Program expands the normal.  Assistant Publisher, Daniel Cameron, has been an active member of the Ozone Alert! Public Relations team since 2009.  In addition to the volunteer hours to the team, Mr. Cameron identified the need for an Ozone Alert! website widget to display during the ozone alert season.  Design and specifications were developed, and with the program widget created, GTR Newspapers conspicuously placed it on their website at no cost to the program.  Additionally, up-to-date Ozone Alert! Season articles were maintained on-line at www.GTRnews.com.   Through GTR’s initiative, the ozone widget became available and easily transferable to other media and municipal websites.  GTR employees also actively participate in Ozone Alert! Day actions to help reduce ground-level ozone.

The GTR has been reporting local targeted monthly news in print since 1993 and on-line since 1996.  The GTR is the Midtown Monitor, Union Boundary, Jenks District Gazette, Owasso Rambler, Bixby Breeze, Broken Arrow Express and www.GTRnews.com

About Lafarge

From programs reducing dependence on fossil fuels, to partnerships with local businesses to a fully-funded educational series for local schools, the Lafarge Tulsa Cement Plant actively seeks ways to advance the environment.  Aside from its core function – producing quality cement materials for construction statewide – the Tulsa Plant regularly donates time, resources and product to projects that support the community and environment.  In addition to being the presenting sponsor for the Ozone Alert / Tulsa Transit’s 50-Cent Fridays, Lafarge actively supports the MET and has partnerships Nature Conversancy of Oklahoma, Wildlife Habitat Council and the Oxley Redbud Nature Center.  In fact, Oxley and the Lafarge Tulsa Plant have partnered to create a pilot program to involve other local and regional businesses to follow the example of corporate responsibility by providing incentives to set aside wildlife habitat, specifically prairie remnants.

In 2009, Lafarge combated the cost of fuel by forming a partnership with Waste Management to create a 1.5-mile pipeline to transport landfill gas to the Tulsa Plant, where it’s used as fuel. Landfill gas, or methane, is a readily available, renewable energy source created naturally through the decomposition of waste in landfills.  In addition to landfill gas, Lafarge participates in the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality‘s Waste Tire Program to provide a service picking up discarded tires throughout the state, which can also be used as fuel at the plant.  To ensure Lafarge remains competitive in the future, the Plant has requested a permit from the Oklahoma DEQ to fuel the Plant with fuel quality waste (FQW).  FQW is a material that has high heat value and can be substituted in a cement kiln for fossil fuels, such as coal.  

About the Benham Companies, LLC

Benham Tulsa, an SAIC Company, continues to be on the forefront of promoting environmental responsibility partnered with common sense strategies.  A full-service integrated planning and design firm, Benham’s Tulsa office has taken laudatory local initiative to improve their green efforts.  Benham’s Deborah Perry has been actively serving on the Ozone Alert! PR Team for several years.  Going a step farther, Benham has added to the ‘traditional’ voluntary Ozone Alert! Company Coordinator’s responsibility list.  While clean air and reducing ground-level ozone remains foundational – Benham has established a voluntary local office “Green Team”.  The Green Team proudly encourages and promotes well-rounded environmental awareness and ‘green participation’ in a variety of areas – making environmental responsibility easy, fun and advantageous for the entire office.  

Aware that auto emissions are a big contributor to air pollution, just prior to the 2010 Ozone season’s beginning, Benham’s Green Team initiated an employee-wide “commuter survey”.  Results from this resourceful tool helped to help direct the team’s efforts in developing programs specifically of interest and useful to their own co-workers.  In addition to the Ozone Alert! Day notifications, from recycling to office-wide carpooling – Benham’s Green Team has produced and implemented many important environmental programs for their employees. 

Updated 10-13-2010

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