Vermont Residents Receive Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Award in Ceremony Recognizing 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
Release Date: 04/22/2010
Contact Information: EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010
(Boston, Mass. – April 22, 2010) – Three organizations in Vermont will be honored on Earth Day in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presents the 2010 Environmental Merit Awards. During a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the organization recognized significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving by 40 people and groups across New England.
The merit awards allow EPA to recognize individuals and groups whose work has protected or improved the region’s environment in distinct ways. Given out by EPA since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts.
“Today, on this milestone anniversary of Earth Day, I’d like to acknowledge and honor people, communities and businesses that have made significant strides in protecting New England’s health,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA New England. Spalding noted, during ceremonies to honor the winners, that President Obama issued an Earth Day challenge to Americans to take action - in homes, in the community and in schools or businesses, to improve the environment.
Quoting Obama, he said, “’It can be as simple as riding the bus or the subway to work, making your home more energy efficient, or organizing your neighbors to clean up a nearby park.’”
The Environmental Merit Awards, which are given to people who have already taken action, are awarded in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals. The Environmental Merit Award Winners from Vermont are:
Environmental, Community, Academia, & Non-profit Organizations Environmental Merit Award:
Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
At its 2007 annual convention, the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont called on its 49 parishes to do energy audits of their buildings so they could cut energy use. By 2009, half had baseline data on fuel and electricity use, half had developed plans to improve their energy efficiency and nearly half had finished audits. Bishop Thomas Ely said then that environmental considerations had to be built into every major Diocesan decision. To back that, the Diocese is trying to reduce the use of bottled water and paper products and is encouraging the use of locally produced food. The diocese also wants support for a solar farm on its campus. Already, the parishes have completed many energy efficiency projects. There are environmental stewards in half the parishes and by the end of last year 12 percent of parishes had eco-teams in progress or formed.
Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse
The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse has been a national leader in reducing the toxicity of packaging that enters the solid waste stream and ultimately the environment. The clearinghouse helps its 10 member states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, put into effect toxics-in-packaging laws. Over the past few years, the clearinghouse has used x-ray fluorescent technology to screen more than 750 packaging samples to detect the presence of heavy metals regulated by state laws. Lead and cadmium in particular are commonly used in packaging materials. This organization in 2007 first sent the results of its screening projects to companies distributing packaging that allegedly violated state laws. As a result, many companies changed their actions, reducing the amount of toxic packaging entering the solid waste stream. Many of the companies contacted were nationally recognized brand owners with great influence. The changes made have had a tremendous ripple effect throughout the world-wide packaging supply chain.
Local, State or Federal Governmental Environmental Merit Award:
City of Burlington
The City of Burlington in 2007 established a Stormwater Task Force that was charged with assessing city regulations and practices that related to stormwater management and then recommending solutions. The task force found Burlington’s regulations, funding and staff were all deficient. To address this, the task force overhauled the city’s antiquated wastewater regulation and added sections to address many of the deficiencies. In December 2008, the Burlington City Council unanimously adopted updated regulations and in April 2009 the new rules went into effect with better staffing and funding. Because of the work of the task force, Burlington successfully addressed a major source of water pollution in Lake Champlain.
More Information: Environmental Merit Awards (www.epa.gov/ne/ra/ema)
Pick 5 for the Environment - International
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Earth Day 2010. Live it and share! Through Pick5 International
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It's My Environment Video Project
Show that it’s your environment by submitting a 10 second or less video clip of you or a group taking action for the environment, saying "It's My Environment!" EPA has put together an Earth Day 2010 compilation of submitted videos, check it out at: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/video/ or at www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4od4tOkz5Y and submit your own for the next one!
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