While Tulsa is in compliance with the EPA Clean Air Act, a collaborative effort called Ozone Alert! has generated tremendous excitement. Many cities have developed mandatory pollution programs, but the voluntary program in Tulsa demonstrates our community's willingness to work for clean air through cooperation.
The key to Tulsa's successful ozone program has been an effective collaboration between the Mayor, county commissioners, citizens, media and industry. With strong leadership from city and county officials, the metropolitan planning agency, the transit system, and local gasoline suppliers and retailers have created a committed and effective coalition which works to increase local awareness about ozone.
During the ozone season, the Tulsa City/County Health Department reviews weather forecasts to determine if impending conditions are likely to produce ozone. On days when hot, still air is forecast, companies are alerted by FAX that the following day will be an Ozone Alert! day. The FAX is sent before 4:00 p.m. so alternative travel plans can be put into place before employees leave their places of work.
A strong voluntary commuter alternative program is the cornerstone of the Ozone Alert! program. Working through Ozone Alert! coordinators, employees register with Tulsa Transit to be assigned to carpools and vanpools. Some companies issue bus passes, others deduct parking fees, while others provide desirable parking spaces for commuters who carpool.
Some companies arrange flex time hours so that early morning numbers of vehicles are reduced and other companies discourage driving at mid-day by organizing lunch to be served in-house. All public bus service is free, which has increased ridership by 81 percent on Ozone Alert! days. Government contractors do not run gasoline powered lawnmowers, edgers, or leaf blowers. Paving is curtailed.
Local gasoline suppliers and retailers voluntarily supply reduced Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline which reduces emissions causing ozone. The reduced RVP gasoline meant that during the 1994 Ozone Alert! season, 6.4 tons per day of hydrocarbons were not released.
Mayor M. Susan Savage provides consistent, visible leadership for the initiative. The costs of non-compliance are high but are no less important than the benefit of clean air to attract industry and jobs to our area.
Contact: Hilary Kitz, (918) 596-7686
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.