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NMED among winners of first EPA environmental justice awards

Release Date: 10/21/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Agency recognized for outstanding leadership in addressing community issues

(Dallas, Texas – October 21, 2008) The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is one of 12 winners of the first annual Environmental Justice (EJ) Achievement Awards announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The awards recognize organizations for their distinguished accomplishments in addressing environmental justice issues, ranging from developing a tool to target high-risk homes with lead contamination to empowering residents to clean up New Orleans East for a safe return after Hurricane Katrina.

“EPA commends NMED and its fellow award recipients for their leadership in the field of environmental justice,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “These organizations are making a positive impact in their communities by promoting a clean and healthy environment for all people.”

Award recipients include representatives from community-based organizations; universities; and state and local governments from nine states. EPA received dozens of nominations from across the United States.

NMED began its environmental justice program by seeking public input about the nature and extent of environmental justice in New Mexico. The agency later convened an Environmental Justice Planning Committee comprised of representatives of local government, American Indian tribes, industry, and grassroots and community organizations. As a result of NMED’s environmental justice outreach, collaboration and planning, the State implemented permitting reforms, new training programs, and improved public notification, comment, and participation. Major milestones of NMED’s efforts included the creation of the Environmental Justice Policy Committee, the Environmental Justice Task Force, and the New Mexico Environmental Justice Executive Order signed by the governor on November 18, 2005.

Additional information on the EJ Achievement Award Program, including more details about this year's recipients, is available at http://epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/.

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region6.

An EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio102108_ejawards_nmed.

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