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San Diego Earthworks, a non-profit corporation, staged a podium and flower display for the Environmental Act and Restoration that Helps awards, May 28. The ceremony served to recognize many people and organizations dedicated to a sustainable future.

Photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens

MCAS Miramar Wins Clean Air Award

4 Jun 2015 | Sgt. Lillian Stephens 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District awarded Marine Corps Air Station Miramar the Clean Air Award in San Diego, May 28.

The Clean Air Award is an accolade given to businesses that far exceed minimum requirements set by regulations. Programs, projects or technologies must greatly reduce emissions and toxic air contaminants, be innovative and unique, provide a model for others to follow, and result in positive, sustainable outcomes to earn this award, stated the San Diego APCD website.

“In this case, [the Air Pollution Control District staff] went back about several years.” said Robert Kard, director of the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District. “Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has done many, many things to enhance the environment’s air quality and that’s why they were chosen.”

MCAS Miramar most notably reduced its electricity consumption, gathering 47 percent from landfill methane and solar panel electrical production, which are renewable resources. The station also diverted 35 percent of solid waste to recycling and repurposing programs, aiming to reach 50 percent by December 2015, and converted to a smart irrigation control and reclaimed water system. As of 2014, MCAS Miramar had decreased potable water consumption by 30 percent.

“There were multiple people and multiple entities that were considered,” said Kard. ”The Marine Corps, in this case, came out to be the best of the best.”

Luis Eria, MCAS Miramar environmental engineer and air quality program manager, has worked at Miramar for ten years and says Miramar is a responsible steward to the community.

“We try to be good neighbors,” said Eria. “All the things that we are doing have an impact on the environment. Our main effort is compliance.”

Col. John Farnam, commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Eria and Susan VanWinkle, deputy assistant environmental management officer, accepted the award on behalf of MCAS Miramar.

“In the past, we were perceived as polluters and people who wouldn’t take care of the environment,” said Farnam. “Now, you see Marine Corps bases Pendleton, Miramar and others that receive award after award for all the great work we do for protecting species and taking care of the environment.”