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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2013

Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION MARKS AIR QUALITY AWARENESS WEEK
THROUGHOUT NEW JERSEY

CONTINUES TO URGE PARTNERSHIP WTH RESIDENTS TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE OUR AIR QUALITY

(13/P41) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin today marked the start of Air Quality Awareness Week, from April 29 to May 3, by highlighting successes of the Christie Administration in battling air pollution and also stressing the importance of a joint effort by government and the public to improve our air quality.

"The Christie Administration has taken a series of steps to improve air quality in New Jersey, moving forward on a host of major initiatives to battle air pollution in our state and air pollution coming from neighboring states - efforts that are paying clean air dividends,'' said Commissioner Martin. "Governor Christie has also backed policies to promote the development of renewable and clean energy, such as solar and wind energy, while fostering greater use of cleaner burning natural gas.''

 During Air Quality Awareness week state residents are encouraged to make basic changes to their everyday routines to help improve air quality. Simple changes can include combining automobile trips, burning only dry well-seasoned wood in fireplaces, keeping vehicle maintenance up-to-date, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, and conserving energy by turning off unneeded lights.

 In declaring Air Quality Awareness Week, Governor Christie noted that public awareness is an important part in reducing air pollution.

Some tips on reducing air pollutants include:

  • Keep your vehicle maintenance up-to-date.
  • Obey state law by not idling your vehicle for more than three minutes.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room. Turn off the air conditioner when you leave the house. 
  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned hardwood, and avoid wood burning on bad air days.
  • Avoid cleaners, paints or pesticides that are reliant on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as gases that can persist in the air long after they are applied.
  • Check your local forecast using the Air Quality Index (AQI) at http://www.njaqinow.net
  •  If it is an orange or red day, avoid using products with VOCs or mowing your lawn. 

For more tips and information, visit http://www.stopthesoot.org

Commissioner Martin encouraged residents, especially those with health problems, to follow the DEP's Air Monitoring Alert System. This system uses color codes to help residents plan their daily activities around current air quality conditions. Conditions are updated daily on the DEP's Web site, http://www.nj.gov/dep/.

Residents may subscribe to EnviroFlash at www.enviroflash.info, an online alert system that delivers critical air quality information right to your e-mail in-box. You also can follow air quality forecasts on Twitter and through RSS feeds through the federal Environmental Protection Agency's EnviroFlash system. Visit www.enviroflash.info.

 New Jersey's air quality has improved greatly in recent years as a result of laws regulating power plants and industrial emissions; better pollution controls on cars and trucks, especially dealing with diesel emissions; upgrading dry cleaning equipment, and many other efforts. Governor Christie has particularly targeted major out-of-state polluters.

 For example, the Christie Administration won a major victory with the EPA's approval of New Jersey's Clean Air Act petition that has resulted in more than a mandated 60 percent reduction this year in sulfur dioxide emissions that has long poured across the Delaware River and into North Jersey from coal-fired units at a Portland, Pa. power plant. Those emissions must be reduced even further, by 81 percent by 2015, and the owner has announced the company will shut down those coal-fired units. 

The DEP also has participated in lawsuits against owners of the Homer City Station plant and against Allegheny Energy Inc., to cut massive emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pouring into New Jersey from those western Pennsylvania plants. 

Additional steps taken by Governor Christie to improve air quality in New Jersey include:

  • Adopting a policy of not allowing new coal-fired power plants to be built in New Jersey, ensuring that additional generation comes from clean energy sources.
  • Mandating  2015 closure or latest technology upgrades to polluting "peaker units'' employed during High Energy Demand Days in summer.
  • Approving a pilot program to reduce diesel emissions from big construction vehicles at state construction sites.
  • Completing retrofits or replacement of diesel engines on 800 NJ Transit commuter buses.
  •  Setting a new, lower standard for sulfur content for home heating oil.
  • Aggressively moving ahead with a grant program to finance replacement of dry cleaning machines that pour thousands of pounds of pollutants into the air.
  • Making a commitment to renewable energy, including making New Jersey a leader in the nation for installed solar capacity.

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Last Updated: April 22, 2013