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Rhode Island Citizens Receive Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Awards

Release Date: 05/10/2011
Contact Information: EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. – May 10, 2011) – Two Rhode Island citizens and an environmental group from the Ocean State will be honored tomorrow in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presented its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2011.

The merit awards, recognizing valuable contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, are a unique way that EPA can recognize individuals and groups that are making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.

Awarded by EPA since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew 56 nominations from across New England.

Awards were given in the following categories: individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Each year, EPA also may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

More information on all Environmental Merit Award Winners from this year and past years is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region1/ra/ema/index.html

The Environmental Merit Award Winners from Rhode Island are:

Individual Achievement Environmental Merit Award:

Joseph Boutin and Paul Musco
Cranston Public Schools, Cranston, Rhode Island

The Cranston Public School (CPS) district consists of 31 buildings, five of which make up the high school complex. Construction ranges from the years 1925 - 2004. Most have the original operating equipment and windows. Cranston Public Schools Energy Program started in November 2006, with Cranston Public Schools Senior HVAC Technician Paul Musco and Cranston High School West Foreman Joseph Boutin embracing the challenge immediately. They learned about each building’s system and function and managed, monitored, adjusted or fixed equipment that would conserve the most energy. Energy savings to date have been achieved without expenditures going beyond the general maintenance budget and soon will reach $3 million. In 2010, 12 Cranston Public School buildings earned the Energy Star commendation, the only schools in Rhode Island to do so. Cranston High School West was one, thanks to the efforts of Paul and Joe. Both have taken the Building Operator Certification (BOC) course and maintain continuing education, and the Cranston Public School system is the recipient of an endowment from Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). Six buildings now are undergoing vast HVAC control projects. Two of the largest grants were awarded to Cranston High School West, with that campus undergoing extensive HVAC and lighting retrofits equating to over $400,000. Paul and Joe are committed to overseeing the development of these projects and take great pride in being part of these energy conservation measures and upgrades.

Daniel Geagan
City of Warwick, Rhode Island Planning Department

As senior planner for the city of Warwick, RI, Dan Geagan has overseen many successful projects. Perhaps most impressive is the complicated land acquisition he help guide through last year when the city obtained 41 acres of coastal land at Rocky Point that faces Narragansett Bay. Working with Pepsi and Shaw’s corporations, Geagan procured $15,000 for native trees and shrubs on the land. In another project, he used Smart Growth principles to create a master plan for the Warwick Development District that involves a pedestrian-friendly development between T.F. Green Airport and the Interlink facility. This will encourage use of the new commuter rail as well as walking and bicycling. Finally, Geagan succeeded in cutting greenhouse gas emissions by up to 480 tons a year by reducing energy use in city buildings, is collaborating with the state and a private property owner to buy development rights to the 8-acre Blueberry Farm and is working with Clean the Bay and DEM to remove more than 100 tons of debris from local waterways. Geagan is a model municipal planner.

Environmental, Community, Academia, & Non-profit Organizations Environmental Merit Award:

Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School’s Green Team
Newport, Rhode Island

The Green Team at the Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School in Newport, Rhode Island, is working to realize local recycling goals and to raise environmental consciousness. This award recognizes the team’s school recycling program as well as its leadership outside the classroom. At school, where once there was no recycling program, the team weighs recyclables weekly. Now, East Bay Met recycles 2,860 pounds of paper and cardboard and 484 pounds of cans and plastic bottles. Last year, the team hosted students from a school in Sweden, and together the students traveled to Washington D.C. to learn about the nation’s environmental policies. Among the Green Team’s activities last year, the group held an environmental awareness coffee house and fundraiser; helped test the water quality of Aquidneck Island’s brooks and rivers; developed a DVD and outreach material; collected bikes and repaired them; created an Aquidneck Island Green Map, highlighting resources such as organic farms and nature preserves; and attended and organized workshops about renewable energy and conservation. The Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School’s Green Team continues to be a valuable partner in the city’s environmental work.

 

 

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