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'Trash Bash 2000' Effords Net 2001 Gulf Guardian Award

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2001
512/239-0046 (Pager 512/875-9213)
Seven out of 18 awards from 5-state region go to Texas projects

Trash Bash 2000, a littering prevention and cleanup effort launched in 1994, is one of several 2001 Gulf Guardian award winners from Texas that was recognized at the opening day luncheon for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) Environmental Trade Fair on Monday.

Gulf Guardian awards stem from the Gulf of Mexico Program, a partnership formed in 1988 to develop strategies to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Entries came from the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico--Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Commissioner John M. Baker of the TNRCC said, "We do have a lot to be proud of here in Texas." Of the 18 Gulf Guardian awards presented, 7 went to Texas projects, and 4 of those winning efforts received 1st place honors.

EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman said, "There are a wonderful variety of projects--from seagrass and wetlands conservation efforts to marine life and reef fish protection--that are created by concerned individuals who sincerely want to preserve the beauty and vitality of the Gulf of Mexico. Their projects go a long way toward preserving the value of this natural treasure and we appreciate their hard work. The accomplishments of these award winners will help build on the successful initiatives already underway in the Gulf of Mexico program."

Accepting 2nd place honors for Trash Bash 2000 in the Non-Profit Organization category was Dr. Daniel H. Raab, a senior chemist in environmental affairs with DuPont.

The River, Lakes, Bays 'N' Bayous Trash Bash was initially designed by the TNRCC's Clean Rivers Program to address Galveston Bay water issues from a grass-roots base. Since 1994, it has grown to become the largest prevention and cleanup effort in the state. In 2000, educational displays and trash collection occurred at 12 locations within the San Jacinto River watershed, when an estimated 5,100 volunteers collected over 170 tons of trash.

A total of 988 tons of trash has been eradicated by 29,900 volunteers thus far. The Trash Bash steering committee is composed of representatives from government and industry, non-profit, and environmental groups. Originally, Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) provided the regional coordination required. In 1996, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority assumed the coordinator role.

Sponsors, steering committee members, local hosts, and coordinators for the project come from numerous locations, including Clear Lake, Deer Park, Baytown, Seabrook, Texas City, LaMarque, Galveston, and Houston-which serves as home base for the project.

EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said, "It is exciting to see so many outstanding Texas projects being recognized by the Gulf program. It highlights everyone's commitment to protecting Texas' beaches and Gulf resources."

"Partnerships are one of the elements that define the Gulf of Mexico Program," said Jim Giattina, program director. "We began the Gulf Guardian Awards to highlight and honor some of the partnerships and other projects that are helping the environment and water quality in Texas, other Gulf states, and in the Gulf of Mexico. We are all one Gulf community and have only one Gulf of Mexico. Projects like this are helping to protect our local coastal waters, which significantly contributes to the Gulf's beauty and value."

Other Texas contenders also finished in 1st place in the Business, Non-Profit, Individual, and Partnership categories. Another 2nd place honor was claimed by a Business project, and a 3rd place award for a Youth/Education project also received recognition at the luncheon.

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

Editor's Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call Terry Hines Smith at 228-688-1159. For more information about the "Trash Bash" program, call Karen Goelkel at 512-239-0046; pager 512-875-9213. For information about TNRCC and their participation in the Gulf of Mexico Program, call Andy Saenz at 512-239-5018.

All TNRCC news releases are available at http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/. Exit EPA Disclaimer
Please note: the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission is now known as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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