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Release Date: 09/07/2000
Contact Information: Kristi Latimer, (404) 562-8327 Terry Hines Smith, Gulf of Mexico Public Affairs Office, (228) 688-1159
The application deadline for the 2001 Gulf Guardian Awards is October 2. The awards are sponsored by the partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program to recognize "Gulf Guardians" for their stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico.

"The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency is proud to be a part of the Gulf Guardian Awards which recognize environmental excellence in the five Gulf Coast states," said John H. Hankinson, Jr., EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta. " The Gulf of Mexico is a beautiful, expansive natural resource from which we all derive both economical and recreational benefits."

Winners will be announced during January 2001 and the awards ceremony will be held in May or June in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Program Comprehensive Meeting and the Coastal America Annual Retreat.

Over 50 entries were received during last year's inaugural awards from all five Gulf Coast states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. A first, second and third place winner was awarded in each of six categories: business, government, civic/non-profit organizations, youth/education, partnerships and individual.

The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory consortium of state and federal government agencies, representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists and community leaders from the five Gulf Coast states. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.