Special Thanks to a Clean Air Campaign Leader
Hats off to Harold Reheis, a founding father of The Clean Air Campaign and former chairman, who yesterday officially rolled off The Clean Air Campaign's Board of Directors after some 15 years of service.
Before the mission became a movement centered on less traffic and cleaner air, Reheis remembers working in the mid-90s "just to understand how Atlanta could meet tighter standards" for ground-level ozone. "We focused on wringing everything we could out of stationary sources," he explained, referring to the emissions that come from fixed objects like smokestacks. "We realized we had to work at everything in order to reach the goal."
According to Reheis, the best experiment to show how vehicle traffic and air quality are so closely linked happened when the Olympics came to metro Atlanta in the summer of 1996. It was during this two-week stretch that two important situations were recorded:
1. The Georgia DOT found traffic congestion was held at bay by area employers who led the charge to help their employees remain productive without having to drive in to worksites at rush hour
2. The Georgia EPD found that air quality was noticeably improved during this window, with no violations of the ground-level ozone standard while the Olympic torch was lit
In his role as both a regulator with the Georgia EPD and an architect of The Clean Air Campaign, Reheis expressed to his colleagues on the Board of Directors the significance of creating a non-regulatory organization, focused on voluntary actions, to cause change. "The balance of regulatory controls and voluntary commute options programs showed that a plan could be drafted and acted on to meet air quality standards," Reheis said. "I'm excited about where we've been and what we've achieved. We need to keep working to identify more ways to solve the problem."
On behalf of the entire organization and all the people you've influenced in your work for less traffic and cleaner air, thanks, Harold, for the passion and the vision you brought to improve our quality of life.