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Pueblo of Laguna Resident Receives National Community Involvement Award

Release Date: 08/21/2013
Contact Information: Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard at 214 665-2200 or R6Press@epa.gov.

(Dallas – August 21, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Amy Garcia of the Pueblo of Laguna as the winner of the national 2013 Citizen Excellence in Community Involvement Award. This annual award recognizes outstanding achievements in environmental protection and community-involvement leadership during Superfund cleanups. Superfund is the federal program created by Congress to address the country’s abandoned, uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

“Superfund cleanups can be long and complex, and the process can take a toll on the surrounding area,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Residents like Ms. Garcia who understand the community are indispensible in keeping residents informed and engaged during the process. Ms. Garcia’s dedication to the Pueblo of Laguna exemplifies the spirit of community leadership we seek to honor with this award.”

Ms. Garcia’s leadership has greatly helped EPA’s cleanup of the Grants Mining District, an area about 70 miles west of Albuquerque where contamination from former uranium mining is common. The affected area includes not only former mines but many private homes as well. In order to clean up these homes, EPA needed to obtain access agreements from residents.

Ms. Garcia was instrumental in helping EPA obtain access to start cleaning up the contamination on more than 500 residential properties in the Pueblo of Laguna villages. She ensured EPA and its contractors worked in a manner consistent with tribal customs, protocols and procedures. Her role as a liaison between EPA and the Pueblo greatly improved the success of EPA’s cleanup by keeping tribal members and homeowners informed during every step of the assessment and cleanup process.

Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, presented the award to Ms. Garcia during the annual Tribal Lands and Environment Forum in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.

More information on Superfund community involvement:
http://www.epa.gov/superfund/community/

More information on EPA Region 6:
http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central

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