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Gas Can Exchange Event Saturday, June 11th – Residents Can Receive a Free, Environmentally-Friendly Gas Can to Help Keep Air Clean

For more information contact:

Dave Merritt, Project Coordinator
(608) 266-9063

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 6/6/2005

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
The warm weather is back and so is Dane County’s ozone season. The Dane County Clean Air Coalition (CAC) will again call “Clean Air Action Days” this summer when forecasted conditions indicate that ground-level ozone could reach unhealthy levels on the following day.

“Hot, sunny weather brings ozone season,” said Dave Merritt, Project Coordinator of the CAC. “A Clean Air Action Day lets people know that ozone could reach an unhealthy level especially for children, older adults, people with asthma and adults engaged in vigorous outdoor activities. Clean Air Action Days also remind people of simple actions they can take to improve the air we all breathe.”

Dane County residents this ozone season can take advantage of a new opportunity to improve our air quality by trading in their old, empty gas can for a free environmentally-friendly gas can. A free gas can exchange event will take place in Madison on Saturday, June 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Franklin Field, 1402 Wingra Creek Parkway.

Gas cans, like those used to fuel our lawn mowers and boats, emit a substantial amount of pollutants into the air. In fact, the estimated 167,000 gas cans in Dane County emit roughly 1.2 tons of air pollution. That is equal to the same amount of pollution from 14,000 cars on our highways.

The free gas can exchange is a program of Dane County and the City of Madison, made possible by a grant from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in partnership with the Dane County Clean Air Coalition.

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Dane County Clean Air Coalition – Page 2

Dane County air quality currently meets state and federal standards. However,
air pollution measurements taken during the past few years indicate that, especially as Dane County continues to grow, preventative actions must be taken to ensure our air remains healthy into the future.

“Ozone hurts our health and ozone hurts our economy,” said Merritt. “Ozone can trigger asthma attacks. Recent health statistics estimate that approximately 40,000 Dane County residents, or 10% of our citizens, suffer from asthma. If Dane County were to exceed federal air pollution standards, it would mean the burden of mandatory regulations to reduce air pollution that could cost citizens and businesses millions of dollars.”

Nearly one-half of Dane County’s ozone-causing pollutants come from our cars and trucks, as well as other gasoline and diesel engines that power everything from construction equipment to lawn mowers. Power plants burning fossil fuels and smaller businesses that use ozone-generating materials such as paints and solvents also contribute to the problem.

On hot, summer days, air pollution “bakes” in the sun to produce ground-level ozone making it hard for some people to breathe. Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the skin by shielding it from harmful ultraviolet rays. But ground-level ozone is a key component of smog and a health hazard.

During a Clean Air Action Day, government agencies, businesses and citizens will be asked to do their share for cleaner air and the health of local residents by voluntarily engaging in ozone-reducing activities. CAC organizations will activate their Clean Air Action Day response plans to help protect air quality.

CAC organizations including, MG&E, Dane County, City of Madison, Kraft Foods, UW-Madison and the State of Wisconsin have identified specific, cost-effective ways to reduce ozone-forming emissions. Madison Metro will again this year provide free bus service on the first five Clean Air Action Days to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Clean Air Action Day response plans include alerting all employees via e-mail, limiting vehicle idling and avoiding refueling fleet vehicles until after 6 p.m., reducing or postponing mowing and painting whenever possible and conserving energy by reducing air conditioning and lighting.

Actions that citizens can take on a Clean Air Action Day to reduce the likelihood of ozone formation include:
· Carpool, walk, ride the bus or bike to work
· Reschedule or delay lawn mowing using gas-powered equipment until after 6 p.m.
· Refuel your car after 6 p.m., don’t overfill or top-off the tank and avoid idling
· Reduce the use of air conditioning and lighting

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Dane County Clean Air Coalition – Page Three

There is a limit of two new Briggs & Stratton 2½ gallon gas cans per household. After June 11th, if the limited supplies of new gas cans are available, old gas cans may be exchanged at the Clean Sweep location: 2302 Fish Hatchery Road.

For more information on the Gas Can Exchange Program and Clean Air Action Days, visit the Dane County Clean Air Coalition website at www.cleanairdane.org.

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Dane County Clean Air Coalition Members: City of Madison, Dane County, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Kraft Foods, Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Madison Gas & Electric Company, Madison Metropolitan School District, Petroleum Marketers Association of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Petroleum Council.
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