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EPA Honors Environmental Advocates for Exemplary Work; Nine Individuals, Scientists, Educators, Business People and a Law Enforcement Officer from New Jersey Receive Top Honor

Release Date: 04/18/2000
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(#00067) New York, New York -- As part of its celebration of the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored nine individuals, educators, businesses, advocacy groups, governmental agency representatives and journalists from New Jersey for their diligent work to protect the environment and human health. Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator presented the nine with EPA Environmental Quality Awards at a ceremony held today in New York City that featured, as its keynote speaker, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, a noted environmental leader in Congress.

"The Environmental Quality Awards are EPA's way of taking its hat off to those who work the hardest to preserve and protect our environment and public health. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day and look back on 30 years of environmental progress, these winners remind us that environmental protection is about more than laws, regulations and standards. Environmental protection is also about individual gumption and dedication," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "The unwavering commitment of these New Jerseyans to making our world a better place should serve as an example to us all."

EPA Region 2 presents Environmental Quality Awards annually to individuals, nonprofit groups, educators, businesspeople, government officials and journalists from New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have made significant contributions to improving the quality of the environment in the Region. Winners are chosen by a panel of EPA employees who review nominations submitted from inside and outside the Agency.

The 2000 Environmental Quality Award Winners in New Jersey are:

INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN

Larry Doyle, Lakewood, New Jersey

In 1996, Police Officer Larry Doyle contacted EPA with a case he had developed against the Savcote Chemical Laboratory, alleging the company was improperly disposing of hazardous waste. Because of Officer Doyle's perseverence and help, the federal government stepped in. As a result of several Federal search warrants, several hundred drums were found buried, many containing hazardous waste, and  on-site underground storage tanks were found to be leaking. In October 1999, the company and its owner both plead guilty. The company was sentenced to five years of corporate probation. The owner was sentenced to six months of home confinement, five years probation, a $60,000 fine, and was ordered to pay more than $600,000 in restitution for the cost of cleaning up the site.

James De Block, Jerry Haimowitz, Jerry Oselador, Robert Villée of the New Jersey Water
Environment Association, Fair Lawn, New Jersey

These four men accompanied EPA Region 2 staff to inspect malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems in the U.S. Virgin Islands and to advise the Territory government on how best to fix them. They were dedicated and enthusiastic to the point of rolling up their sleeves and picking up tools to help out. Their invaluable recommendations led to the subsequent return to operation of one pumping station, which ended the threat from raw sewage to nearby wetlands.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Union Carbide Corporation, Bound Brook, New Jersey

Located in one of the hardest-hit areas of flooding after Tropical Storm Floyd, Union Carbide's Bound Brook Plant provided a staging area for emergency-response personnel and equipment. In addition, the company provided power, personnel and security for the emergency operation. Although the emergency response lasted several months, the Bound Brook Plant continued their cooperative efforts the entire time without complaint despite the expense and inconvenience. Without the corporation's assistance, EPA and other disaster-response agencies could not have been as effective in addressing the environmental threats posed to the community by Floyd.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Christine Raabe, Brick, New Jersey

Ms. Raabe has donated many hours as a volunteer and mentor with environmental, community and school organizations in New Jersey. She has also created several environmental education programs for students. She facilitates workshops for teachers participating in several programs, including Project WET, Project Learning Tree, and Homes for Wildlife. She was a leader in the creation of the Coalition for Schoolyard Habitat. She has also written several curriculum guides, including ones for endangered species and "Down Jersey B Celebrating Our Sense of Place."

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Bruno Iamonte, Lincoln School, Kearny, New Jersey

A teacher at the Lincoln School in Kearny, New Jersey, Mr. Iamonte has expanded environmental education beyond the walls of his classroom. He has organized assembly programs and field trips for the entire school. Bruno has helped his students create presentations to give to students at other schools, so his students not only learn about the environment, but they also learn to share this knowledge with others.

A Partnership for Learning, Fort Hancock, New Jersey

A program of The New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, the Partnership has brought hands-on marine-science education to schools across the state. The Partnership trains teachers to create customized field programs that bolster science and math skills as students learn about their local environment. Students use calculators and computers for field investigations of marine habitats, and, in the classroom, use on-line databases to learn about their local watersheds. Last year the group trained 29 teachers, who in turn worked with 2,000 minority and underprivileged students.

NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL OR COMMUNITY GROUP

Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries, Millville, New Jersey

Founded in 1979, this group spearheaded the movement to designate the Maurice River system as part of the Wild & Scenic River Program and has spurred the protection of 60,000 acres of wetlands within the watershed. The group has conducted 12 annual raptor and waterfowl surveys and worked on a successful osprey program since 1985. Working with the National Park Service, it developed the film ADown Jersey@ and an accompanying teachers' guide.

Highland Park Shade Tree Advisory Committee, Highland Park, New Jersey

This committee established the Native Plant Reserve on the Raritan River. This project will help restore native vegetation to a river corridor that has been impacted by construction projects in this highly developed area. The committee has coordinated grants, municipal resources and volunteer efforts to establish the Reserve.

FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT OR AGENCY

L
ambertville Sewerage Authority, Lambertville; Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners, Newark; Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority, Middlesex; and New Jersey Water Environment Association, Fair Lawn, New Jersey

These three authorities and one non-profit group contributed valuable resources to send four of their sewage treatment experts to accompany EPA Region 2 staff in its inspect malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems in the U.S. Virgin Islands and to advise the Territory government on how best to fix them. The recommendations that came out of the visit led to the subsequent return to operation of one pumping station, which ended the threat from raw sewage to nearby wetlands.

Eric Evenson, U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, New Jersey Office, West Trenton, New Jersey

Mr. Evenson has been a key player in the Barnegat Bay Estuary Program, an interagency planning effort that is jointly sponsored by EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He has applied his and his agency's expertise toward developing a comprehensive long-term plan to protect the watershed. He has contributed to the water quality and water supply chapters in the watershed characterization report and the draft management plan. He has also reached agreements with the state for important water resource studies.