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Two Vermont Residents Receive Prestigious EPA Environmental Award

Release Date: 06/26/2013
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 26, 2013) – Two Vermont state employees were honored today at the 2013 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Kiersten Bourgeois in the Vermont Agency for Commerce and Community Development and Patricia Coppolino in the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation together received one of 28 awards given to people and organizations across New England for their significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem-solving.

The merit awards allow EPA to recognize individuals and groups whose work has protected or improved the region’s environment in distinct ways. Given out by EPA annually since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts.
“The people, communities and businesses being recognized today are leaders in helping create a cleaner environment and healthier communities across New England,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA New England.

The Environmental Merit Awards, which are given to people who have already taken action, are awarded in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

These two state employees were given Environmental Merit Awards in the “Local, State or Federal Governmental” category.

Kiersten Bourgeois in the Vermont Agency for Commerce and Community Development, and Patricia Coppolino in the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, together have played a key role in cleaning and redeveloping properties contaminated by hazardous materials. Their partnership is a model for how to combine protection of human health and the environment with the reuse of brownfields properties, according to EPA’s description of these award winners. Property owners and developers are often reluctant to get involved with regulators and state agencies when it comes to contamination, but Bourgeois and Coppolino were responsive and encouraging enough to break that barrier.

Among the numerous projects that were successful thanks to Bourgeois and Coppolino was 100 River St., a former machine tool factory contaminated by PCBs. Participation by Bourgeois and Coppolino was crucial to ensuring redevelopment. The building has been cleaned and redeveloped into the Springfield Health Center. It has retained its original historic character and has again become a jewel in Springfield’s downtown. These two women working in tandem ensure successful conclusions. They not only bring funds to the table, but bring positive attitudes, compassion, and dedication to their work.

More information on EPA New England Environmental Merit Awards (http://www.epa.gov/region1/ra/ema/index.html)

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