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New Hampshire Citizens Receive Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Awards

Release Date: 05/10/2011
Contact Information: EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. – May 10, 2011) – One New Hampshire citizen and five organizations from the Granite State will be honored tomorrow in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presented its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2011.

The merit awards, recognizing valuable contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, are a unique way that EPA can recognize individuals and groups that are making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.

Awarded by EPA since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew 56 nominations from across New England.

Awards were given in the following categories: individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization.  Each year, EPA also may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

More information on all Environmental Merit Award Winners from this year and past years is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region1/ra/ema/index.html

The Environmental Merit Award Winners from New Hampshire are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:

Dr. Frederick T. Short, Durham, New Hampshire
Fred has been a strong voice for the conservation and protection of Great Bay and its resources for almost 30 years. He has authored and co-authored close to 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and eight books. His expertise is in seagrass conservation and restoration, and he is considered by his peers to be an international expert. He published articles on such topics as “How Climate Change will affect Seagrasses” and “The Global Decline of Seagrasses.” In addition, he has started a global science-based monitoring program that is called SeagrassNet. Due to Fred’s diligence, SeagrassNet monitoring sites have been developed in 115 locations in 32 countries. Fred has given his time and expertise to help facilitate the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems. He serves on numerous official and ad hoc advisory councils and frequently is asked to be a peer reviewer for several journals and on grant applications.

Environmental, Community, Academia, & Non-profit Organizations Environmental Merit Award:

Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program
Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program has been collecting water quality data, restoring habitat and organizing volunteer cleanups for the past decade. It has promoted public awareness and stewardship of Manchester’s ponds, while reducing the pollution and nutrients that compromise water quality in seven urban water bodies. The program has been at the forefront of several projects that led to improved water quality in the city. In addition, the restoration program has organized 78 cleanup events and organized 463 volunteers who have put in 1,644 hours of collecting 1,499 bags of trash.

New Hampshire Small Business Technical Assistance Program
Sara Johnson, Concord, New Hampshire

Small businesses often have to spend four times more per employee to comply with environmental regulations than larger firms. To help with this challenge, the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments require states to develop programs to help small businesses comply. Recent standards, known as National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources, impact small businesses tremendously. For example, EPA estimates 35,000 auto body shops may be subject to related requirements. The New Hampshire Small Business Technical Assistance Program partnered with EPA New England and the state’s Automobile Dealers Association to help auto body shops which may have limited knowledge of environmental regulations. The outreach included mailings to 562 auto body and related shops, 12 workshops attended by 417 people, and a new auto body web page. Such activities contribute to a better informed and more compliant industry sector on a national, state and local level.

Northeast Resource Recovery Association
Epsom, New Hampshire

Small, rural communities face the same requirements for managing solid wastes as larger ones but have fewer resources to cope with requirements or to stay up to date on technological developments. The Northeast Resource Recovery Association was created in 1981 as a recycling cooperative so towns could share knowledge and benefit from the power of group sales. Last year, the Association sold more than 73,000 tons of recyclables, while sharing information through e-letters, monthly meetings and an annual conference. It now handles more than 30 recyclable commodities for communities in New Hampshire and across New England. This organization is a one-stop shop for municipal recycling center operators. As a result of the Northeast Resource Recovery Association, less waste goes to landfills, saving small communities money, less pollution from waste is discharged into groundwater, the market for recyclable products gets greater support and community members are trained to be leaders in the cause of waste reduction.

Governmental:

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Concord, New Hampshire
Keith DuBois and Gary Lynn

Keith DuBois and Gary Lynn, employees of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, are on the cutting edge of providing service and technical support in the brownfields arena. Over three years, with Keith as brownfields coordinator for the New Hampshire DES, has made great strides in communicating with communities and nonprofit organizations. One of his most successful efforts has been in Berlin, a city with many brownfields sites left behind from its pulp and papermaking past. The first property moving toward success is Notre Dame High School that is being redeveloped for elderly housing and is expected to open this next year. While Keith is focused on sites contaminated by hazardous substances, Gary Lynn’s expertise is petroleum. He has details on almost every property in New Hampshire that is contaminated with petroleum. In 2008 and 2009, DES received funding to assess properties contaminated with petroleum. Keith and Gary helped establish the New Hampshire Brownfield Steering Group, a committee of municipal, planning, state, and private investments in brownfield redevelopment efforts, whose effectiveness is unmatched. One example is the Wausau/Groveton Paper Mill, a 103-acre site that was once the economic and geographic heart of Groveton. Gary and Keith worked with the town and regional planning organization to come up with a redevelopment plan. What started off as a daunting project has now resulted in assessment work, cleanup and a serious investment and project plan for commercial agricultural reuse of the site. Working together, Keith and Gary provide solid technical expertise that ensures these properties are assessed, cleaned up and available for redevelopment.

Pelham Environmental Recycling Complex (PERC), Pelham, New Hampshire
The Town of Pelham was in the middle of a recession and looking to cut where possible when town officials realized that materials were being trashed or burned, that fuel was being wasted, that labor costs were too high and that the town waste and recycling technology was out of date. A new director with 30 years experience in waste and recycling launched an aggressive plan to increase recycling and decrease costs. The town has since increased recycling 122 percent, reduced costs 28 percent and increased revenues 100 percent while offering new services and eliminating negative environmental impacts. By working with the selectman, the public, schools and outside vendors, PERC demonstrated that recycling can have a powerful impact on the environment and costs when made simple and easy. The major transformation was a switch to single stream recycling and providing a user-friendly facility for residents. The public was kept in the loop, and the transfer station was transformed from an unsafe site to a user-friendly recycling complex.

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