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New Hampshire Citizens Receive Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Awards

Release Date: 04/25/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 25, 2012) – Three New Hampshire citizens from the Granite State will be honored today in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presented its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2011.

The merit awards, recognizing valuable contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, are a unique way that EPA can recognize individuals and groups that are making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.

Awarded by EPA since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew nearly 100 nominations from across New England.

Awards were given in the following categories: individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Each year, EPA also may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

"Congratulations to all of our 2012 Environmental Merit Award recipients. These awards are close to my heart because they acknowledge the importance of environmental stewardship, said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "As stewards, all of these recipients are making real and lasting differences in communities across our beautiful region. Whether it's finding innovative ways to safeguard our water resources or conserving the energy our communities use each day, each individual has advanced our mission to protect human health and the environment."

More information on all Environmental Merit Award Winners from this year and past years is available at:

The Environmental Merit Award Winners from New Hampshire are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:

Gary Hirshberg
Gary Hirshberg, president and chief executive officer of Stonyfield Farm yogurt, oversaw the growth of this company in Londonderry, New Hampshire, from a seven-cow organic farming school in 1983 to the world’s leading organic yogurt producer with $260 million in annual sales. In doing this he followed a lifelong interest in protecting the environment and a deeply held belief that businesses are central to this mission. Stonyfield used innovative marketing techniques that blended the company’s social, environmental, and financial missions. Gary joined Stonyfield Farm a few months after its start in 1983. Initially he directed the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned. In 1983, the institute was struggling to stay afloat, and began selling organic yogurt as a way to raise revenue. In 2001, Stonyfield Farm entered into a partnership with Groupe Danone, parent company of Dannon. In 2005, Gary was named Managing Director of Stonyfield Europe, a joint venture between the two firms. Stonyfield’s profits for the Planet program donates 10 percent of the company’s profits to environmental organizations. The company is also involved in a program to install healthy snack-food vending machines in schools. Before going into the yogurt business, Gary was executive director of The New Alchemy Institute – a research and education center on Cape Cod dedicated to organic farming, aquaculture and renewable energy. A New Hampshire native, Gary was one of the first graduates of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. He has received six honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership. He is chairman and co-founder of O’Naturals, a chain of natural fast food restaurants. The father of three children, Gary also is president of the Express Soccer Club and coaches a girls’ under-15 premier travel soccer team. To this day, Stonyfield Farm stands by its original principles: to make a healthy product and earn a profit without harming the environment. “Business is the most powerful force in the world,” Gary once told a journalist. “I believe that virtually every problem in the world exists because business hasn’t made finding a solution a priority.”

Individual Environmental Merit Award

Scott Hilton
NH Department of Environmental Services, Portsmouth, NH

Scott Hilton of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has worked tirelessly for the cleanup and successful redevelopment of the former Pease Air Force Base Superfund Site in Seacoast, New Hampshire. Now known as Pease International Tradeport & Airport, the site is home to about 250 businesses and 7,000 employees. When the Air Force base closed in 1991, Pease was considered one of the most contaminated Superfund sites in New England. The designation of the 4,300-acre installation as a Superfund site and the identification of over 50 potentially contaminated areas of concern represented a monumental roadblock to transferring the property to the Pease Development Authority for reuse and economic redevelopment. A dedicated cleanup team of staff from the Air Force, the DES and EPA developed and executed innovative cleanup approaches. More than $180 million has been spent or obligated to restore the Pease environment, and numerous cleanup actions, concurrent with major on-going Pease redevelopment, have been completed. This cleanup and redevelopment would not be a reality without Scott Hilton’s expertise, management skills, tenacity and commitment to quality. Scott began his efforts at Pease in the early-1990s as a DES hydrologist and later as project manager and sole DES representative. He handled some of the most difficult challenges with competence and enthusiasm, advocating for a strong relationship between the two agencies and presenting a unified regulatory voice to the Air Force on cleanup efforts. Scott was instrumental in protecting the Haven Aquifer, a significant ground water resource adjacent to the former base. He urged that a backup wellhead ground water treatment system be constructed in case Air Force efforts failed. This system ensures that potable water will always be available to the Pease Tradeport and the Seacoast. Scott’s numerous environmental accomplishments stand out as examples of how the EPA-state collaboration can accomplish critical goals for cleanup and beneficial reuse of a contaminated site.

Kevin O’Maley
Manchester, NH

Since committing to the EPA New England’s Community Energy Challenge in 2007, the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, has reduced its energy bills by $800,000. This success can be traced back to Kevin O’Maley, Manchester’s chief facilities manager. Kevin led the city to use EPA’s ENERGY STAR software to measure energy use at 42 buildings, including 22 schools. He used information from energy audits to review inexpensive ways the city could energy use in its buildings, including behavior modification, lighting upgrades and heating and air conditioning changes in the short run and energy retrofits for the long term. Kevin put together funding for energy projects, like roof-mounted heat recovery systems, new boilers and fluorescent lighting with motion sensors in schools. He put in place a district-wide energy policy that puts heating at a maximum of 68F. Overall, energy use at schools went down 15 percent. During 2011, Manchester also reduced costs in the school district by $291,000. The Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School in Manchester in 2011 earned the ENERGY STAR label certification and Manchester West High School was the top New England school in the 2011 ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings. The school district’s goal is to have all schools ENERGY STAR certified by the end of 2012. The energy efficiency work that Kevin has done in Manchester is legendary in New Hampshire. He also mentors other communities and shared his experiences at the 4th annual Local Energy Solutions Conference in Concord.

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