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Sierra Club Recognizes EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg For Outstanding Environmental Leadership

Release Date: 11/18/2008
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club honored Alan J. Steinberg, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator, on Sunday, November 16 for his efforts to protect the people and environment of New Jersey. Steinberg, who has served as the highest EPA regional official since his appointment in 2005, was recognized for his outstanding leadership in advancing the cleanup of the Passaic River, and his crucial role in the positive modifications made to the state Permit Extension Act of 2008.

The Sierra Club is a national, member-supported environmental organization, which seeks to influence public policy through public education and grass-roots political action. With nearly 20,000 members, the Trenton-based New Jersey Chapter is one of the largest chapters in the USA.

“Regardless of one’s ideology or political persuasion, when it comes to the environment, everyone is a stakeholder,” said Alan Steinberg. “When I saw that the state permit extension legislation required some environmental guidance in crafting a bill affecting the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, I did not hesitate to lead. The same was true when I recognized the need to move forward aggressively to address decades of contamination in the Passaic River. I was pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Sierra Club on these and other important environmental efforts.”

During Steinberg’s tenure at EPA, significant progress was made toward a comprehensive cleanup of sediment contamination in the lower Passaic River.

“When I was appointed EPA Regional Administrator, one of my goals was to expedite the cleanup of the Passaic River. As I close out this phase of my career, I am proud to say that we are closer to that goal than ever before, and we can all look forward to more encouraging news on that subject in the future. Returning this once pristine and vital body of water to its former glory is something all of us can appreciate.”

Steinberg also personally helped raise awareness about the potential impacts the Permit Extension Act of 2008 could have on the environment and environmental programs delegated by the federal government to be managed by the state. The Regional Administrator wrote to the governor and state lawmakers noting that the bill, as then written, would have been inconsistent with existing environmental laws. The bill was modified and passed in September.

“As the EPA Regional Administrator, Alan Steinberg has done an outstanding job of protecting the environment for the people of this region,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Alan had the courage and the principles to stand up in a bi-partisan way for what’s right and what’s good for the environment.” Tittel also noted Steinberg’s focus on the ongoing cleanup of the Ringwood Mines Superfund site, and the listing of the Standard Chlorine Superfund site on the National Priority List of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites in the country.

The Sierra Club’s Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Achievement officially recognized Alan Steinberg’s leadership as EPA Regional Administrator in protecting and preserving the natural environment, including his efforts in opposing the New Jersey Permit Extension Act, and in promoting the cleanup of the Passaic River. He was honored along with a number of others who have made significant contributions to the environment of New Jersey.

For more information about EPA’s efforts on behalf of New Jersey, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region2

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