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NASA Honors EPA Administrator, Regional Employees for Reocvery Work on Columbia Space Shuttle Crash

Release Date: 06/05/2003
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827/

(06/05/03) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) gave special recognition in a ceremony on May 27 in Dallas to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and two EPA emergency response employees, Jim Mullins and John Martin, for their removal work to retrieve material from the space shuttle Columbia. EPA responded to reports of hazardous materials, cleaned up any contamination and protected the public from toxic exposure. Administrator Whitman received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of her leadership. The entire EPA team included approximately 1,900 personnel, including about 650 field personnel and 80 “on scene coordinators” from other regional offices around the country. Mullins and Martin received NASA's Exceptional Achievement Medal for their outstanding personal dedication and expertise in the recovery efforts. Mullins was instrumental in coordinating EPA's equipment and personnel in the field. Martin was one of the first EPA responders to arrive at the scene and helped establish the recovery field office. In addition, EPA has honored about 400 of its employees for their work. In response to nearly 200 calls, EPA recovered 76 percent of the hazardous containers and 20 percent of the pyrotechnic devices from the shuttle. For more information, go to: