Eric Betterton and Ursula Nelson Featured in KOLD13 Spotlight on Pima County's Efforts to Improve Air Quality

Photo Eric Betterton, HAS Department Head, and Ursula Nelson, Director, Pima County Environmental Quality (Image: KOLD13 News)
Monday, July 15, 2019

Photo: Eric Betterton, HAS Department Head, and Ursula Nelson, Director, Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, being interviewed by Bud Foster, KOLD13 news correspondent (Image: KOLD13 News)

Dr. Eric Betterton, UA Distinguished Professor and HAS Department Head, and Ursula Nelson, Director of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality and HAS Advisory Board Member, were interviewed by Bud Foster in a KOLD13 News video on July 10, "Pima County cutting idle time for fleet vehicles, helping reduce air pollution." (Betterton speaks at 0:35 and Nelson speaks at 1:32)

Because Pima County exceeded the EPA's ozone standard for the first time in 2018, Pima County is getting more aggressive in its approach to improve air quality. In just one year, Pima County reduced its fleet vehicle idle time from 122,000 hours to 99,000 hours. As Nelson noted, "There aren't any big ticket items, if you will, that we can do that will drastically reduce the air (pollution)." That leaves little things like idle time. "We may not be able to quantify how much it's helping, but we know that every little bit helps," she said.

Pima County is getting some help from the University of Arizona's Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. Betterton talked to Bud Foster about a new device installed on the roof of the UA's Physics-Atmospheric Sciences Building that will measure the ozone 24/7 in an attempt to determine what's causing Tucson to exceed the EPA limit.

We hope to have more news on this topic following this year's monsoon season--stay tuned!