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EPA to Present Special Award to Johnson County, Kan., for Environmental Projects


Johnson County residents will be able to breathe easier thanks to three county projects, and the county will receive a special award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, for its exemplary efforts to protect air quality in the Kansas City region as part of the Blue Skyways Collaborative.

Region 7 Administrator John B. Askew will present the Blue Skyways Collaborative partnership award to Johnson County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Annabeth Surbaugh on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 9:30 a.m. in the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry St., Olathe.

“Johnson County, as a member of the Blue Skyways Collaborative, has joined other forward-thinking nonprofit and environmental groups, private industries, and governments in the Heartland in a unified effort to achieve greater air emission reductions,” Askew said. “This partnership group is implementing projects that use innovations in diesel engines, alternative fuels, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to reduce air pollution.”

The three projects below show how Blue Skyways partners and communities are finding innovative ways to reduce air emissions beyond regulatory requirements.

Johnson County, in partnership with Lenexa, Olathe, Shawnee, and Overland Park, sponsors an ozone reduction campaign throughout the summer months. The mission of the campaign is to encourage action to reduce ozone. Johnson County has eliminated 587,700 vehicle miles traveled and reduced 286 tons of air pollution since the project was implemented in 2004.

Johnson County’s new Sunset Drive facility received Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2006. The Sunset Drive facility is a high-performance office building designed to be efficient to own and operate. Energy consumption at the Sunset building in 2006 was less than 1.5 million kilowatt hours, which is half the amount of energy used by an average commercial building of the same size. This energy efficient building prevented 1,178 tons of air pollution in 2006.

Three Johnson County refueling stations will be retrofitted with vapor recovery systems by the end of 2007. These retrofits will reduce two ozone-forming pollutants – volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides – by 2.5 tons over the life of the project (about 10 years).


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