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EPA Honors Puerto Rico Environmental Leaders

Release Date: 04/29/2011
Contact Information: Elizabeth Myer, (212) 637-3860, myer.elizabeth@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has honored four individuals or businesses from Puerto Rico with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck was joined by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez to present the awards to this year’s recipients at a ceremony at EPA’s offices in Manhattan.

“These honorees work tirelessly to protect the environment and to ensure that all of us can look forward to a cleaner, healthier world,” said Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “We can all be proud of what they have accomplished and the example they have set.”

EPA presents Environmental Quality Awards annually in conjunction with Earth Day to individuals, businesses and organizations in EPA Region 2, which covers New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally-recognized Indian Nations. The awards recognize significant contributions to improving the environment and public health in the previous calendar year. For information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa/.

Attached is a list of the award winners.

2011 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS

Individual Citizen
Father Efraín Rodriguez
Father Efraín became interested in environmental issues while studying to become a priest in Boynton Beach, Fla. He noticed that a pesticides-dispensing plane flew over the crops, and that animals were dying from ingesting pesticides. Father Efraín became concerned for the safety and health of the workers. Between 1971 and 1975, he traveled across the United States defending migrant workers and educating them about the dangers of pesticide exposure. In 1998, he started his own radio show called “Hablando Claro,” a program that serves as an open forum for environmental issues and health and safety themes in Puerto Rico.

Lyvia Rodriguez Del Valle
Lyvia Rodriguez Del Valle is an urban and regional planner who currently serves as the executive director of the Corporación Del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña, a redevelopment authority that brings together the organized communities, the private sector and government around an agenda for an inclusive city. Over the last 10 years, she has worked together with an interdisciplinary team to create innovative and highly participatory mechanisms to overcome poverty and address environmental degradation.

Ana Margarita Pérez Mejías and Carmen Febres
Under the leadership of Ana Margarita Pérez Mejías and Carmen Febres, their organization, Martín Peña Recicla, has become a model for community involvement and education through teaching residents of Barrio Obrero Marina about recycling, solid waste reuse, and other environmental issues. The project recovers approximately four tons of recyclable newsprint, paper and cardboard each month, reducing the community’s daily waste load. The work is performed entirely by community volunteers, who have no specialized equipment or tools. The materials are separated and stored temporarily before being sold to a major recycling corporation on the island. Any proceeds are reinvested in community projects such as youth programs.

Business and Industry
Amgen Manufacturing, Limited
Amgen Manufacturing, Limited (AML) established an environmental sustainability program in 2010 to further its commitment to improve the environment. As part of the program, AML launched a number of efforts to protect and save natural resources, including reducing waste, sustaining a best-in-class recycling program, establishing energy and water conservation programs, and promoting practices to reduce emissions into the atmosphere.

For more details, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa

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