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EPA presents environmental achievement award to Earth Conservancy for reclamation work in Luzerne County

Release Date: 09/16/2009
Contact Information: Roy Seneca, 215-814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (September 16, 2009) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region today announced 10 winners of its second annual environmental achievement awards including an award to the Earth Conservancy from Ashely, Pa. for its work in reclaiming abandoned mine property in Luzerne County.

“People and organizations throughout our region are making great strides in environmental protection, and these awards recognize some of the shining stars who are doing more than their share to keep our planet healthy and inspiring others to do the same,” said acting EPA Regional Administrator William C. Early.

The Mid-Atlantic Environmental Achievement Awards recognize groups, agencies, individuals and businesses making extraordinary contributions to improving the environment in the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The winning entries were selected from among more than 60 nominations.

Earth Conservancy was recognized for spearheading efforts to reutilize former coal company-owned lands in Luzerne County. After obtaining a $14 million federal grant in 1993 and raising $2 million from the private sector, Earth Conservancy purchased approximately 16,300 acres of land from the estate of the former Blue Coal Corporation, which had declared bankruptcy in the mid-1970s. The group then created several comprehensive land use plans to guide its reclamation and restoration. To date, Earth Conservancy has reclaimed 1,216 acres at a cost of $20.3 million, with another 1,142 acres in-process, at an estimated cost of $55.7 million.

EPA presents awards in three categories: non-profit or volunteer organization; business and industry; and state, local or other federal government agency. For a full list winners and more information on the awards, visit: