Published April 17, 2012
Volume 20, Number 4

Spare the Air Employer Program Presents Workshop with Regional EPA Administrator May 22   

Bay Area residents have been hearing Spare the Air Alerts for over 20 years. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District initiated the alert program in 1991 in an effort to protect public health and reduce air pollution.

Whether from soot-generating wood smoke in the winter or the ozone-creating mix of heat and vehicle exhaust in the summer, our region faces air pollution challenges—and associated health hazards--all year long. When air quality is expected to reach unhealthy levels, the Air District issues a Spare the Air Alert. This is a signal for residents to forego the crackling fire in the fireplace and cut back on driving and the use of other gasoline-powered equipment. The Air District notes that these measures can make a “substantial difference in the amount of pollution that occurs.”

To strengthen the call to action, the Bay Area Air District created the Spare the Air Employer Program. This growing network now includes nearly 2,000 Bay Area employers working to improve the region's air quality. Employers are connected to resources and information to educate employees, support commute alternatives, and develop clean air policies and practices.

Members of the employer program receive Spare the Air Health Alerts, opportunities to implement free, customized employee carpooling programs with the 511 RideMatch Service, and access to ongoing, interactive education such as the quarterly “Breeze” e-newsletter, webinars, and other events and online tools.

To pass on the latest updates and resources, the Spare the Air Employer Program will host a breakfast workshop for members on Tuesday, May 22, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. Jared Blumenfeld, the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s  Region 9, will be the keynote speaker.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about commute solutions in a tight economy,” notes Stephanie Anderson, Executive Director, Spare the Air Employer Program coordinator. Breakout session topics include: Commuter Choice Tax Benefits through IRS Section 132(f), Green Purchasing, Waste Reduction and Recycling, and Energy Efficiency. Just as important, participants can network with employer program members and hear from businesses, large and small, that have successfully implemented clean air policies and practices.

“An overall employee commute package that promotes carpooling, transit and Spare the Air participation can help attract and retain employees,” Anderson points out.

The May 22 workshop gets underway with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until noon. The Hotel Nikko is located at 222 Mason St., near the Powell BART station. The no-cost event is open to Spare the Air Employer Program members only, but membership is free and it is easy to join. Visit www.employerssparetheair.org to find out how to participate.

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