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EPA Commends Environmental Achievers in Virgin Islands

Release Date: 04/26/2007
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov or Jim Casey (340) 714-2333, casey.jim@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored five individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts to protect the environment in the Virgin Islands. Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg presented EPA's Environmental Quality Awards at a ceremony in EPAs offices in Manhattan. Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey delivered the keynote address.

"EPA applauds the tireless dedication of the award winners, who are truly environmental champions,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. Their extraordinary contributions make our world a better place and remind us that individuals really can make a difference.”

2007 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS

Individual Citizen

Barry Devine, Ph.D.

Dr. Barry Devine is chief scientist with the Conservation Data Center at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas campus. He co-authored “The State of the Coral Reefs of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” and his research work seeks to expand the knowledge and understanding of the value and fragility of the Territory’s coral reefs. He is also the co-author of a book entitled “Island Peak to Coral Reef,” the recipient of the 2006 Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture Urban Forestry Award, and the 2003 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Award.


Business

Arun Keshap
Quantum Sail Design Group

Quantum is a St. Thomas company. Founded as an enterprise that manufactures sails for vessels, Quantum has evolved to a company that promotes the use of solar energy for power generation in residences and small businesses. It has built a prototype, alternative energy house to demonstrate its expertise in creating facilities that feature a non-polluting forms of energy and managed household waste. Sanitary waste, for example, is collected and composted in a compact, residential compost unit. Other wastewaters are collected and used for plant irrigation. Its roof is lined with solar panels and its potable water is collected through a roof catchment system.


Non-Profit Organization

Sharon Coldren
Coral Bay Community Council

Coral Bay Community Council is a four-year-old non-profit organization focused on creating and maintaining a better environment for the people of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Headed by volunteer Sharon Coldren, the 200-member organization promotes a balance between development and sustainable environmental quality. Specific interests include: land use planning; ocean use and protection, coastal zone management; infrastructure development and wastewater systems. Coral Bay is the most remote area of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the CBCC has worked successfully to heighten government’s awareness of its valuable and fragile environment.

Clean Islands International

For the last decade, Clean Islands International has operated the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station for the University of the Virgin Islands and the VI National Park. This unique environmental learning center instructs students and educators in a variety of topics including: composting, solar energy, energy conservation and recycling. Last year 800 people participated in a week-long introduction to coastal ecology, conservation practices and environmental responsibilities, including 278 children who participated in eco-camps.


Other Governmental Agency

Emmeline Simmonds
U.S. Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority

Emmeline Simmonds and her organization, the U.S. VI Waste Management Authority, have been responsible for creating and managing numerous programs and initiatives that help protect the environment and the residents of St. Croix. The Youth Environmental Summer program serves 150 Virgin Islands children annually and helps develop in them a sense of pride in the environment. Ms. Simmons also directs the After School Greenhouse program, which educates schoolchildren on plant care and maintenance. The Authority’s “Spruce up for the Holidays” program encourages the use of recycled materials for holiday decorations.

EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit, environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media, as well as from federal, state, local or tribal governments and agencies. 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. For more information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, go to http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa/.

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