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Center for Planning Excellence Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan Receives GULF GUARDIAN AWARD

Release Date: 10/22/2008
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Center for Planning Excellence, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana will receive a third place Gulf Guardian Award for 2008 in the Civic/Non-profit Category for the “Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan”. The 2008 Gulf Guardian awards hold a special significance this year as they will be awarded in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Program’s 20th Anniversary Celebration! (1988-2008). The awards ceremony will be held on October 29, 2008 beginning at approximately 6 p.m at the Hilton Riverside Hotel, Versailles Ballroom in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan represents a model for large-scale comprehensive planning, incorporating issues such as storm protection and coastal restoration, land use patterns and transportation systems, and economic development and housing. The plan transformed input from 27,000 citizens, robust technical analysis, and a unique integration of social, spatial and economic recovery and growth planning into actions that embrace the region’s history, while providing steps toward a more prosperous and resilient future. The Regional Plan and supporting documents reinforce the concept of sustainability in building new communities while encouraging redevelopment and reinvestment in current cities and towns. The Regional Plan was developed in close cooperation with several independent, parallel planning efforts, including the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s (CPRA) Planning effort. The team also worked with the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) and other recovery plans and planners from parishes across the coast. The Regional Plan was developed with comprehensive goals and strategies -- Recover Sustainably, Grow Smarter, and Think Regionally!

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

“Gulf Guardian award winners represent the very best in efforts to ensure the Gulf of Mexico region remains a place where people, industry, and the environment can continue to thrive,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Their accomplishments are making a positive difference for everyone, and EPA is pleased to recognize their environmental leadership.”

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development and is proud to be celebrating 20 years of successful partnerships to protect the Gulf of Mexico.

Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said “After 9 years of conducting the Gulf Guardian Awards Program, I never cease to be amazed by the quality and depth of environmental accomplishments across the Gulf of Mexico region. The 2008 award winners will play an important part of the Gulf of Mexico Program's 20th anniversary celebration. (1988-2008) These special winners proudly illustrate for all of us what committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses that share a common vision can do to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2008, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo.