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EPA Commends Environmental Achievers in New York
Release Date: 04/21/2006
(NEW YORK, NY) In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored 20 individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts to protect the environment in New York. Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg presented EPAs Environmental Quality Awards and acknowledged winners and runners-up for the Presidents Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) at a ceremony in EPAs offices in Manhattan. WNBC-TV’s New Jersey Bureau Reporter, Brian Thompson, who was also commended for his continued dedication to excellence in environmental reporting, delivered the keynote address.
These remarkable winners are catalysts for environmental change in local communities,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. Their exceptional efforts demonstrate that by reducing waste and preserving our precious natural resources, each of us can make great strides in improving the environment.”
EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit, environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media, as well as from federal, state, local or tribal governments and agencies. The honor is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to improving the environment in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Agency receives nominations for the awards from both inside and outside EPA.
EPA also acknowledged the winner and honorable mention recipients in the annual Presidents Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) program. This program encourages young people to study the environment and better understand their relationship to it. The national competition is open to students from kindergarten through twelfth grade who actively participate in noteworthy environmental projects. Out of the hundreds of competitors, one winner is chosen from each of EPAs ten regions and several others are chosen to receive honorable mentions. This years winners received the award from President Bush yesterday in a ceremony held at the White House. Kerri Anne Orloff of Brooklyn received a PEYA for her combined sewer outflow community awareness project, which involved stenciling the phrase “Don’t Dump, Drains to Creek” on every sewer in Gerritsen Beach, a visual reminder to residents that litter on the street also pollutes our waters. For more information about the PEYA program, go to https://www.epa.gov/enviroed/awards.html. For information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, go to https://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa/.
2006 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS
Hon. Thomas DiNapoli
New York State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli has dedicated his 34 years in politics to conservation advocacy and environmental protection. In 2005 alone, he led the effort in the State Assembly to pass the Clean Water Protection and Flood Prevention Act, the Carbon Cap for New York’s Power Plants Act, the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, which expanded the state’s most successful recycling program, and the Community Preservation Act. In his Nassau County district, Thomas is best known for successfully promoting legislation to protect the Long Island Pine Barrens, one of the densest plant and animal habitats in the state.
Mathy V. Stanislaus, Esq.
Mathy V. Stanislaus is a board member of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, a group of community-based organizations that addresses issues of pollution burden and environmental equity. He led the successful effort to include community planning and financial incentives that focus on low-income neighborhoods in the newly adopted New York State brownfields law. Mathy has provided testimony before the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Congress on environmental protection and human rights, in addition to serving as a member of the United Nations Environmental Advisory Council.
Marvin R. Stillman
As Manager of Environmental Compliance for the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital (UR/SMH), Marvin R. Stillman has worked diligently to reduce the environmental footprint of this organization. Under his tenure, UR/SMH has reduced regulated medical waste by 2/3 since 1998 and became virtually mercury-free in 1999. In addition to maintaining an exemplary environmental compliance record at UR/SMH, Marvin has also assisted other institutions in achieving compliance, by hosting training sessions at UR/SMH facilities and providing training nationally as well.
Bruce Stuart and Patrick St. John
Bruce Stewart and Patrick St. John serve as First and Second Vice Presidents, respectively, of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, Inc. (UCPC). Over the past decade, they have overseen the transformation of Udalls Cove Park Preserve from a dumping ground to a healthy and beautiful forest. UCPC has managed to remove invasive species, plant over 500 trees and clean up garbage in this area along the Queens/Nassau County border. Most recently, Bruce and Patrick planned and implemented the Udalls Cove Ravine Restoration Project, clearing over a million pounds of concrete rubble from the site.
Elizabeth C. Yeampierre
Elizabeth C. Yeampierre heads the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE), Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community organization. Her endeavors at UPROSE have included creating awareness for environmental issues affecting residents of Sunset Park. Elizabeth led a successful opposition to the proposed 520-megawatt Sunset Energy Power Plant, campaigned against a new sewage treatment plant in the area, and is an advocate for the prevention of childhood lead poisoning. Her “Youth Justice” program has been especially effective in the Sunset Park community, providing opportunities for young activists to promote environmental issues.
Business & Industry
Russell F. Mankes, Ph.D.
Albany Medical Center
As chemical hygiene officer and responsible facility official for the Albany Medical Center (AMC), Russell F. Mankes has been at the forefront of pollution prevention and waste minimization for decades. Under his leadership, AMC established the “Adopt-A-Homeless Chemical” program, where unopened research-grade chemicals are collected from laboratories and redistributed. AMC operates at the highest level of environmental compliance, in addition to housing the largest chemical reclamation facility in the Eastern U.S. Currently, Dr. Mankes is in the process of developing a new pharmaceutical waste management program at AMC.
Roo Rogers and Jordan Harris
OZOcar, founded in October 2005 by Roo Rogers and Jordan Harris, is the first all-hybrid car service in Manhattan. The 76-vehicle fleet offers competitive rates with the added bonus of a cleaner, more efficient ride. OZOcar uses the Toyota Prius and the Lexus 400h, models that lead the government’s fuel economy ratings. By offering low-emission vehicles, OZOcar is helping to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which cause respiratory ailments and global warming. Roo and Jordan hope to expand their service to include other cities in the future.
Non-Profit Organization, Environmental or Community Group
Julie Barrett O’Neill
The Friends of the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers (FBNR)
FBNR began as a citizen’s advocacy group in 1986 dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the severely polluted Buffalo and Niagara River watersheds. The group played a major role in implementing Remedial Action Plans and waterfront buffer zones along both rivers. Under the direction of Julie Barrett O’Neill, it has brought together community organizations, government, businesses and preservationists to improve access to these now ecologically diverse and healthy waterways. Currently, the group is involved in the Buffalo Niagara Greenway Campaign, hydroelectric negotiations concerning the Niagara Power Project, and the City of Buffalo’s Waterfront Redevelopment Plan.
Grassroots Environmental Education
Grassroots Environmental Education, based in Port Washington, NY, seeks to inform the public about the relationship between environmental toxins and human health. Their Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program, conducted in Westchester County, has been enormously successful, serving as a model for other communities in the Northeast. Over the past year, Grassroots has trained more than 150 landscapers in natural lawn care techniques and conducted more than 100 public outreach meetings. Westchester County now has the highest number of natural lawn care professionals in New York, and consumer demand is growing rapidly.
Lead Safe House
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC)
NMIC’s Lead Safe House, located in the Washington Heights/Inwood neighborhood, offers temporary housing for families whose apartments are being repaired for lead violations. The Lead Safe House is an innovative solution to the lead poisoning epidemic in a community where 89% of the apartment units contain lead-based paint. Since 2003, the organization has provided 67 families with temporary residences and a comprehensive set of social services. NIMC was also instrumental in the passage of Local Law One, which has dramatically increased public awareness and prevention of childhood lead poisoning.
Lewisboro Land Trust
Lewisboro Land Trust, founded in 1996 as a chapter of Westchester Land Trust, has been enormously successful in its mission of promoting preservation of open spaces in the Lewisboro area. In 2005, after nearly a decade of grassroots efforts, the Trust finalized protection of the 386-acre Leon Levy Preserve, an area of extraordinary biodiversity once threatened by developers. Other recent achievements include publishing a new trail guide and newsletter, as well as conducting a series of events aimed at engaging the community in environmental issues.
National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP)
NLPIP, established by the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1990, is instrumental in reducing power plant emissions. Their reports assist lighting professionals, contractors, designers, building managers and homeowners in finding and effectively using efficient, quality lighting products that reduce energy consumption while meeting consumer needs. NLPIP has disseminated more than one million copies of its reports nationwide. They are available to the public free of charge, providing objective, manufacturer-specific information on energy-efficient lighting products.
Riverside Park Fund
Founded in 1986, Riverside Park Fund has developed an impressive volunteer base that successfully raises both private support and government dollars to fund urgently needed park maintenance. The 323-acre park, stretching along four miles of the Hudson River between 68th Street and 155th Street, offers recreation and relaxation for the diverse New York City population. Riverside Park Fund is responsible for such amenities as seasonal attendants, emergency call-boxes, horticultural projects and creative playgrounds, all of which make Riverside Park a cleaner, greener and safer recreational space.
Save Our Sodus, Inc. (SOS)
SOS is an alliance of citizens, businesses and others concerned with preserving the water quality, natural beauty and purity of Sodus Bay, located along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Under the leadership of current president Ann Hayslip, SOS has been an active advocate for the bay, coordinating regular meetings with elected officials, hosting a lecture series for the public, collecting water samples, even harvesting invasive species by hand. SOS has also played a major role in securing state and federal funds for local conservation efforts, including the Harbor and Watershed Management Plans.
Sustainable Long Island
Girl Scouts of Nassau County
Sarah Lansdale of Sustainable Long Island and Donna Cervolo of Girl Scouts of Nassau County formed a partnership between their respective organizations to implement the “Brownfields Busters” Girl Scout Patch initiative, which has put a national spotlight on this important environmental issue. Sustainable Long Island took the lead in developing guidelines and activities for earning the patch, while Girl Scouts of Nassau County volunteered to test the new patch program. After the official launch of the patch in August 2005, Sustainable Long Island was invited to present their work along side the Girl Scouts at the national Brownfields Conference last November.
Sayville High School
Maria Brown, a science teacher at Sayville High School, believes that the most effective method for teaching her Advanced Placement Environmental Science students employs field experience. Over the past six years, Maria’s students have collected data essential to the development of the Islip Town Planning Department’s Draft Watershed Action Plan for Green’s Creek and Brown’s Creek, in addition to creating a public information brochure for the watershed. Maria also pioneered the enormously popular “Costa Rica Experience” at her school, where AP students travel to Central America for ten days to participate in both ecological investigations and community service projects.
Federal, State, Local or Tribal Government or Agency
Clean Bus Program
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
MTA introduced the Clean Bus Program with the goals of decreasing fleet emissions, improving bus service and reducing the cost of operations. The Clean Bus Program introduced low sulfur diesel in its 4,500 New York City buses two years before federally required, in addition to incorporating compressed natural gas (CNG), hybrid-electric and clean diesel technologies into the fleet. These efforts result in annual emissions reductions of 840 tons in nitrogen oxides, 46 tons in particulate matter, and 111,000 tons in carbon dioxide.
Division of Solid & Hazardous Waste
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
In 2002, NYSDEC’s Bureau of Pesticides Management instituted the CleanSweep New York Environmental Benefit Project (CleanSweepNY), a program providing economical and environmentally-safe collection and disposal of unwanted pesticides, school chemicals and mercury-containing devices, in addition to the recycling of pesticide containers. To date, CleanSweepNY has collected approximately 453,000 pounds of pesticides and hazardous chemicals, and recycled 1,467 triple-rinsed pesticide containers which would otherwise have been buried, burned or landfilled. Through proper disposal and recycling, CleanSweepNY is helping to preserve the quality of the state’s natural resources, drinking water in particular.
Natural Resources Group (NRG)
City of New York Parks & Recreation
NRG, a division of the City of New York Parks & Recreation, collaborated with the Bronx River Alliance in the heroic effort to restore the Bronx River Floodplain, a project many years in the making. Invasive plant removal, stream bank stabilization, erosion control, and the development of an ecological master plan for the Bronx River watershed were all important elements of the restoration. The results are astounding: increased sediment load absorption, better stormwater retention, and enhanced riparian habitat, in addition to improved educational and recreational opportunities.
2005 PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH AWARD RECIPIENT
REGION 2 WINNER
Kerri Anne Orloff
“Don’t Dump, Drains to Creek”
Kerri Anne Orloff, a resident of Gerritsen Beach in southern Brooklyn, saw the need to inform the community about combined sewer outflow. Her idea to stencil every sewer in town with the phrase, “Don’t Dump, Drains to Creek,” initially met with resistance from state agencies, but was approved, in the end, with the help of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Kerri designed and distributed fliers to promote the project, and on September 24, 2004, over 100 volunteers turned out to assist with the stenciling. The signs remain a highly visible reminder of the fate of litter on our streets.