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EPA Applauds Environmental Champions in the Virgin Islands

Release Date: 04/25/2008
Contact Information: Michael Ortiz (212) 637-3670, ortiz.michael@epa.gov; Mary Mears (212) 637-3673, mears.mary@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Three individuals and organizations from the U.S. Virgin islands received top honors today from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work to protect the environment. Their exemplary efforts were recognized as they were presented with EPA Environmental Quality Awards by EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg during a ceremony today in EPA’s New York offices. In addition, the Agency recognized two recipients from New York for winning the nation-wide President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA).

“These exemplary environmental stewards have gone above and beyond for environmental change in local communities,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Let their extraordinary contributions remind us all that we can make our world a better place and individuals really inspire others and make a lasting difference.”

EPA selects Environmental Quality Award winners from non-profit environmental and community groups, individual citizens, educators, business organizations and members of the news media, as well as from federal, state, local or tribal governments and agencies. The honor is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to improving the environment and public health in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Agency receives nominations for the awards from both inside and outside EPA. For information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, go to http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa/.


2008 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS

FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT OR AGENCY

Mirko Restovic
Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority
Mr. Restovic planned, constructed and operates multi-million dollar treatment projects; and conducts field studies, marine surveys, ecological evaluations, hydrological control and coastal management studies. He has been instrumental in obtaining grants for improving water pollution control. Due to his direct involvement, the U.S. Virgin Islands government invested $150 million to build four new state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants over the last nine years.


ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Laurel Brannick
Virgin Islands National Park
Laurel Brannick educates Virgin Islands school children, local residents and visitors that come through the Virgin Islands National Park facility on St. John about the island’s historic, cultural and natural resources, and their benefits to the Virgin Islands and the nation. She conducts tours of historic ruins; hikes to remote locations; hosts camping trips and trips to coastal sites to study marine life; and, conducts tour dives along underwater marine trails. All of these activities are designed to educate visitors. Laurel is also actively involved in her community as President of the St. Thomas/St. John Audubon Society.


NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL OR COMMUNITY GROUP

Virgin Islands Resource Conservation and Development Council
The strength of the Virgin Islands Resource Conservation and Development Council (VIRCD) program is that it empowers individuals and communities to solve their own environmental problems. Since its incorporation in 1990, VIRCD has over seen more than 200 projects to help conserve natural resources; prevent pollution; improve grant-writing skills for individuals and organizations; and, to promote sustainable agriculture, ecotourism and environmental education. VIRCD has infused over $3 million into the Virgin Islands economy.

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