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EPA Honors Work of Exceptional U.S. Virgin Islands Environmental Leaders

Release Date: 04/23/2014
Contact Information: Mary Mears (212) 637-3673, mears.mary@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today honored three individuals and organizations from across the U.S. Virgin Islands with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck presented the awards at a ceremony at EPA’s offices in Manhattan. Michelle DePass, former Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of International and Tribal Affairs and currently Dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City, delivered the keynote address.

      “Today we celebrate the exemplary work of people who work tirelessly to protect the environment and give their time and energy to create a cleaner and healthier future for us all,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Their extraordinary contributions serve as an inspiration to all who strive for a more sustainable environmental future.”

      The EPA presents Environmental Quality Awards annually during Earth Week to individuals, businesses, government agencies, environmental and community-based organizations and members of the media 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/.

      The Environmental Quality Award winners from the U.S. Virgin Islands are (in alphabetical order):

      Carib Sun Energy
      Founded in 2012, the Carib Sun Energy team is comprised of certified electricians and plumbers with decades of experience in the manufacturing and residential sectors. They have harnessed indigenous energy sources and have committed to help U.S. Virgin Islands communities burdened by high energy costs with competitive pricing and quality customer service. Though still a young company, Carib Sun Energy has already successfully produced more than 39 million watts of solar energy and saved 34,302 pounds of carbon emissions, having achieved the equivalent benefit of 52 trees.

      Ivanna Eudora Kean High School
      The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School built the first aquaponics and vegetable farm in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The farm was created in 2012 by founder and science teacher Kirk Lewis. He wanted to inspire the student members of the Future Farmers of America to promote healthy lifestyles and develop a positive awareness of the environment. The farm provides sustainable food without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, as students learn how to harvest both fish and vegetables.

      Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
      Virgin Islands Conservation Society
      Valerie Peters
      Blue Flag USVI
      On December 1, 2013, seven “Blue Flags” were raised over beaches and marinas throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Blue Flag certification is based on compliance with 32 criteria including environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety and services. The VI Hotel & Tourism Association, with partner organizations such as the VI Conservation Society, undertook the challenge of Blue Flag certification in 2009 and continues to demonstrate that the U.S. Virgin Islands has the ability to implement and sustain the International Blue Flag certification label. Valerie Peters, a long-time environmental volunteer, helped champion the introduction and implementation of the Blue Flag USVI program.

      Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://facebook.com/eparegion2.
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