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EPA to Honor Five Arizona Environmental Heros

Release Date: 4/21/2003
Contact Information: Leo Kay, (415) 947-4306; or Wendy Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- During the agency’s fifth annual Environmental Awards Ceremony in San Francisco tomorrow, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri will present plaques to five Arizona organizations and individuals in recognition of their efforts to protect and preserve the environment in 2002.

"These groups and individuals have applied creativity, teamwork and leadership in addressing many of Arizona’s most pressing and complex environmental problems," Nastri said. "Thanks to their efforts, our air, water and land will be cleaner and safer for generations to come. The winners set an example for all of us to follow."

The EPA Region 9 Environmental Awards program acknowledges commitment and significant contributions to the environment in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam and tribal lands. Forty four groups and individuals were selected from more than 200 nominees received this year from businesses, media, local, state and federal government officials, tribes, environmental organizations and citizen activists.

The Arizona winners and basis for recognition are:

Ken Edwards, Manager, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
Ken Edwards is the new manager of the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge that encompasses more than 25,000 acres located about 30 miles north of Yuma. The refuge was established in 1941primarily to protect riparian (wet) areas, along the Colorado River. Edwards= first priority is to continue conserving wildlife and providing the best possible opportunities for the public to enjoy the refuge and educate more people in Yuma about what it has to offer. Another big challenge is to get rid of all the salt cedar trees and restore the area with its natural willow, cottonwood and mesquite trees. Edwards believes that restoring the natural vegetation will give food, shelter and nesting areas to the animals of the refuge. Ken Edwards is also a recent recipient of a Citation for Superior Service presented by the Department of the Interior.

City of Sierra Vista
Sierra Vista has developed and installed a comprehensive water management program to preserve its sub- watershed. This unique initiative consists of three major components: an environmental operations park, a water management team and a water wise program. The city dedicated its environmental operations park July 1, 2002. The facility is capable of recharging more than 2,000 acre feet of water annually with the potential to recharge nearly 4,000 acre feet at build-out. The water management team implements water conservation programs and involves the community in water management issues. This initiative won the 2001 Arizona Governors Pride Award for water conservation. The water wise program is now a countywide partnership that includes free water audits for homes/businesses; water conservation how-to information; a hotline; a youth education component; and 14 public information sites.

Pima County Community College District
Pima Community College is the sixth-largest multi-campus community college in the nation, with more than 84,000 enrolled students. The Plaza Building at Pima Community College's Desert Vista Campus has been awarded a bronze rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The energy model for this building shows that it will use 21 percent less energy than a standard building. The energy savings will pay back higher construction costs in the first 10 years of the minimum 50-year building life. The college also includes some green standards in its specifications for bidding and construction on its campuses, including requirements for resource efficiency and management. The college has been extremely proactive with the many pollution prevention activities it has enacted since the mid 80's, from irrigating athletic fields with reclaimed water to shading its parking lots to establishing mercury free campuses. They are a model in the community for demonstrating environmental stewardship.

Sandy Bahr
Sandy Bahr is the Conservation Outreach Director for the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter in Phoenix, Arizona. With a passion for protecting the environment and an inspirational approach, Sandy is an exceptional advocate for Arizona's environment. Through her work, she plays an active role monitoring and responding to proposed legislation and providing Arizona legislators with detailed environmental information. In addition to developing and issuing an Arizona State of the Environment Report, last year she took leadership roles on numerous bills before the Legislature with significant environmental impact, and organized Environmental Legislative Day. Never content to rest on past accomplishments, this year Sandy is joining other environmental activists in developing a comprehensive Arizona 2003 Conservation Agenda, a strategic plan including air quality, citizen participation, energy policy, environmental justice, land use, water resources, and wildlife protection.

Milton Yazzie
With unwavering determination and cooperative spirit Milton Yazzie has voluntarily organized an education campaign for uranium-impacted communities and the Navajo Nation. Yazzie lives in rural Blackfalls, AZ where there's no running water and the natural water sources are contaminated by uranium. His family and neighbors have cancer or other medical problems. Some families drink the water, or like Yazzie, drive an hour to Flagstaff to get clean water. Despite approaching numerous agencies, the area remains without clean, regulated water. He=s walked door-to-door and traveled hours to attend uranium meetings. He partnered with Northern Arizona University to do sampling in his area and then organized community meetings to relay the results. In July 2002, over 50 Navajo-speaking residents, EPA uranium experts, the Army Corps of Engineers, Navajo EPA, Dina College, and health agencies traveled to his house -- with no running water and temperatures over 103 degrees -- to attend an educational workshop. His organizing reached Navajo residents who might never attend an EPA public meeting and serves as a outreach model for the Navajo Nation and similar communities.

Performance Track
Facilities seeking entry into the Performance Track Program must have adopted and implemented an environmental management system, commit to improving their environmental performance, commit to public outreach and performance reporting, and have a record of sustained compliance with environmental requirements.

Motorola's Global Telecom Solutions Sector Facility
Motorola's Global Telecom Solutions Sector facility is committed to protecting our environmental resources. The facility has aggressive environmental programs in place to reduce, recycle and reuse our precious natural resources. Since 1999, the site has reduced its use of water by 70 percent, natural gas by 74 percent and electricity by 40 percent. In addition, the site currently recycles 71 percent of all non-hazardous solid waste streams generated. Motorola regularly participates in both city and valley-wide environmental initiatives like electronic and hazardous waste recycling events as well as staging an annual Earth Day event at the site.