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EPA Commends Environmental Achievers in New Jersey

Release Date: 04/21/2005
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For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 21, 2005

(#05037) NEW YORK -- In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored ten individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts to protect the environment in New Jersey. Deputy Regional Administrator George Pavlou presented EPA's Environmental Quality Awards and acknowledged winners and runners-up for the President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) at a ceremony in EPA's offices in Manhattan. New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who was also commended for his continued dedication to protecting the environment, delivered the keynote address.

"These winners are environmental trail blazers who make our world a better place,"; said Deputy Regional Administrator Pavlou. "By being leaders and making local changes, the award recipients demonstrate that we can all have a positive impact on the health of our nation's air, land and water."

EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit, environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media. The honor is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to improving the environment in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Agency receives nominations for the awards from both inside and outside EPA.

EPA also acknowledged the winner and honorable mention recipients in the annual President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) program. This program encourages young people to study the environment and better understand their relationship to it. The national competition is open to students from kindergarten through twelfth grade who actively participate in noteworthy environmental projects. Out of the hundreds of competitors, one winner is chosen from each of EPA's ten regions and several others are chosen to receive honorable mentions. This years' winners received the award today from President Bush in a White House Rose Garden ceremony. New Jersey teacher Stephen Feldman received a PEYA honorable mention for work he has done with his fifth grade students to help them become environmental advocates while also learning how to plant, cultivate and harvest fruits and vegetables. For more information about either competition, go to www.epa.gov/region02.

2005 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS
Individual Citizen

Lucy Bottomley
For more than a quarter of a century, Lucy Bottomley, Supervisory Environmental Engineer, was the inspirational leader of the Navy Air Station Lakehurst Environmental Program. She established the facility's environmental program in 1979, and dedicated her career to improving the environment in areas of potable water and air compliance, recycling, wastewater and hazardous waste management. Through her efforts, Navy Lakehurst was placed on the National Priorities List in 1987, with 45 individual Superfund sites. Since that time, remediation has been completed on more than 34 of those sites. In addition, she was responsible for initiating partnerships with local schools that resulted in a number of novel science programs for students. During her tenure, the Station won more than 20 major environmental awards for its progressive and effective initiatives.

Business & Industry

Merck & Co.
Smart Moves Program

Merck, a pharmaceutical giant with a large facility in Rahway, New Jersey. There, the company has established a
Smart Moves Program that provides an array of services and information to encourage its 4,000 member workforce to carpool, participate in vanpools and/or use public transportation. As a result, nearly 3,000 vehicle trips are being eliminated each week. Nearly 400 employees are using vanpools and mass transit to get to and from work each day. Collectively, this amounts to a reduction of more than 4.5 million vehicle miles traveled. The program eliminates 28,000 pounds of hydrocarbons, 208,000 pounds of carbon monoxide, 13,800 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 4.13 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

Pennrose Properties LLC and the City of Salem, New Jersey
Salem Historic Homes

Pennrose Properties worked with the City of Salem, New Jersey to create a sustainable redevelopment in a section of historic housing. The homes were built at the turn of the 20th century and most had been repossessed or abandoned. As the homes were reconstructed, the sustainable elements went far beyond traditional requirements. The residences feature Energy Star equipment such as light fixtures, fans, air conditioning and heating. The developers used recycled fiberglass insulation, carpeting consisting of recycled fibers and hardiplank, a siding product that is made of recycled wood and is itself recyclable. To reduce indoor air pollution, low or no volatile organic chemical paints were used as well as solid plywood cabinets. Low flow showerheads and low flow faucets were installed in all bathrooms. As a result of these efforts, 80 abandoned and once-abandoned properties are now homes to 104 families.

Federal, State, Local, or Tribal Government or Agency

Bergen County Utilities Authority
Mercury Thermometer Swap Program

In an effort to address the issue of mercury contamination and help control the spread of mercury into the environment, the Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) was a driving force behind the private/public partnership that included Becton Dickinson and Company, United Water, the Bergen County Department of Health Services, the Hackensack River keeper and the Bergen County Medical Society and that introduced the Bergen County (NJ) Mercury Thermometer Swap Program in 2004. Highly toxic, mercury can create severe health problems. A common fever thermometer contains between 0.5 and 1.0 grams of mercury, or about enough to contaminate all of the fish in a 20 acre lake. In a multi-tiered swap, promoted heavily throughout Bergen County, the group collected 5,200 mercury thermometers and replaced them with digital thermometers donated by Becton Dickinson.

Richard Orlusky
U.S. Postal Service

On October 18, 2001, the Hamilton, New Jersey U.S. Postal facility was closed due to the first case of anthrax bio-terrorism in the country. Anthrax is a deadly, spore-forming bacterium that can be inhaled. All four known anthrax-containing letters were processed and sent through the Hamilton facility. Richard Orlusky, U.S. Postal Service Compliance Specialist, served as the Incident Commander from the outset through May 2004 when construction crews began the building rehabilitation. He dealt with some of the most difficult response issues of our time while working closely with various agencies, including EPA, in developing a safe, cohesive plan to eliminate the health threats that existed at the facility.

The Environmental Commission of Little Egg Harbor
The Environmental Commission of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey has taken an aggressive role in advocating good environmental behavior in this growing community. It authored a tree ordinance that requires residential developers to get a tree-clearing permit before they develop a site. The ordinance, which is the first of its kind in the community, also stipulates that replacement trees need to be of the same species, if possible, and that natural habitat buffer zones need to be preserved at rear and side property lines. In addition, the commission partnered with Rutgers University and developed a first stage GIS system, which will be instrumental in storm drain mapping. The commission also performs water testing at its beach and posts notices when results are unfavorable.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
The Watershed Watch Network

The Watershed Watch Network (WWN) is an umbrella program for the volunteer monitoring community of New Jersey. The WWN gives the volunteer monitoring community a united voice, visibility, a forum and opportunities for participation in a wide variety of environmental actions, ranging from classroom and community education to assisting local managers in making planning and preservation decisions, to providing data that can be used for regulatory purposes by the state of New Jersey. The WWN has received national recognition and a number of states are considering implementing a similar approach. The main objective of the network is to provide high quality data that will be used to help drive watershed management decisions.

Environmental Education

Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education
The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education was established to assist groups, citizens and students become better acquainted with the environment. Consisting of environmental educators, professionals and government officials, the Alliance has a 17-year history of accomplishments in providing the resources for educators in New Jersey to include the environment into their formal and informal lessons. The Alliance offers professional development opportunities to its members in the form of annual retreats, conferences, a newsletter and regional workshops, and it reaches out into the community to form partnerships with organizations with similar missions. Under the Alliance's structure, umbrella groups may apply for environmental education grants and appeal for funds.

Non-Profit Organization, Environmental or Community Group

New York/New Jersey Trail Conference
The New York/New Jersey Trail Conference has provided communities and public agencies with the human resources needed to build and maintain hiking trails. The Conference is a network of 88 outdoor clubs whose mission is to: build and maintain public hiking trails, protect and enlarge public open space through grassroots advocacy and land acquisition, and to educate people in responsible use of trails and the natural environment. To do this, the conference recruits, trains and deploys more than 1,500 volunteers who last year contributed 38,000 hours of volunteer labor. Among the trails built and maintained are the trails at Jockey Hollow area of the Morristown National Historical Park, the Appalachian Trail and the Highland Trail.

HONORABLE MENTION

Stephen Feldman
"Environmental Awareness at the Woodland School"

Steven Feldman teaches Colonial American Agriculture, math, writing, health and other subjects to fifth graders at the Woodland School's Environmental Center. His students have learned to become environmental advocates while also learning how to plant, cultivate and harvest fruits and vegetables. Prior to their experience at the Environmental Center, many of his students had never raked, or hoed or planted a seed. They grow flowers, peanuts, cotton, pumpkins, grapes and herbs, to name just some of their produce.