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Blue Skyways bringing cleaner air to Alamo City and America’s heartland

Release Date: 10/30/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or

EPA recognizes San Antonio’s clean air efforts as model for other cities

(Dallas, Texas – October 30, 2008) The Environmental Protection Agency is touting the San Antonio area’s clean air efforts as a model for other cities throughout the heartland.

Business leaders and environmental officials from 10 states are meeting in San Antonio October 29-31 to discuss clean air projects and progress as part of the Blue Skyways Collaborative.

“San Antonio has been an exemplary city when it comes to smart, clean air initiatives,” said EPA Region 6 Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Now, by joining Blue Skyways, they are taking those efforts even further and inspiring other cities to do the same.”

As one of the collaborative’s newest members, San Antonio plans to aggressively implement transportation emission reduction measures, rideshare and telecommuting initiatives, gas-powered lawn mower replacements, and a truck stop anti-idling program. These efforts are meant to help reduce ozone-causing pollutants.

Since its start in 2006, Blue Skyways and it partners have cut pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 51,626 tons per year; reduced greenhouse gases by 1.6 million tons per year; and saved 76 million gallons of fuel per year. VOCs react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, or smog. EPA strengthened the ozone standard from 0.80 parts per million (ppm) to 0.075 ppm in March of this year.

Many cities, including San Antonio, are working to remain in attainment of the federal clean-air standard for ozone. The city successfully developed an Early Action Compact air quality plan in 2002, which kept it within the previous ozone standard.

“Voluntary programs like the Blue Skyways Collaborative are making a big difference in improving air quality in communities throughout the nation’s heartland,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator John Askew. “As our list of partners continues to grow, we are conserving more fuel, saving more money, and keeping more pollution out of the environment.”

The collaborative consists of 183 partners who work with EPA to complete projects that use innovations in diesel engines, alternative fuels, and renewable energy technologies to reduce air emissions along major transportation corridors. To date, the partnership has implemented about $1.1 billion in projects spanning 10 states - Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas - and the areas along the borders with Mexico and Canada. Collaborative members include a mix of private businesses, non-profits, environmental groups and government agencies.

San Antonio-based retailer H-E-B joined Blue Skyways in 2006. During the meeting, the collaborative will recognize the City of San Antonio and introduce its other new members, including the Alamo Area Council of Governments.

Additional information on the Blue Skyways Collaborative is available at

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit

An EPA audio file is available at