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EPA Recognizes 15 From Massachusetts With Environmental Merit Awards

Release Date: 04/22/04
Contact Information: Contact: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1014

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2004; Release # 04-04-30

BOSTON – At an Earth Day ceremony in Boston’s Faneuil Hall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office today recognized 15 individuals and organizations from Massachusetts with Environmental Merit Awards. The merit awards, given out since 1970, 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 nearly 100 nominations from across New England.

“These individuals, organizations and businesses deserve our thanks for their extraordinary contributions in protecting the environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England Office. “They have shown us that anyone can make a big difference, whether at work, at home, or in their neighborhood.”

The winners from Massachusetts were among 34 from across New England. Awards were given in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization, as well as lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

Pictures of winners receiving their awards will be available from EPA. Call Carol Krasauskis at 617-918-1108.

Environmental Merit Award Winners from Massachusetts are:
David Fronzuto, Marine Superintendent, Nantucket, Mass.
In his role as marine superintendent for the town of Nantucket, David Fronzuto has maintained a 15-year commitment to the environment, the island’s shellfishermen and other residents and its thousands of visitors. In 1992, Fronzuto was instrumental in establishing Nantucket waters as one of New England’s first federal “No Discharge Areas,” which forbids boats from discharging treated sewage. Fronzuto and his staff secured funding and established free boat pump-out services. Last year alone, more than 80,000 gallons of boat waste was pumped from recreational vessels in Nantucket Harbor. This year he has focused on stepping up enforcement of no discharge rules, including inspections of the Steamship Authority’s ferry fleet. Fronzuto continues to address other environmental issues, recently identifying and securing a site for an innovative constructed wetland for treating stormwater pollution and finding grant money for a restoration project in Consue Springs. He has also been a strong advocate for shellfishing, working with multiple groups to increase habitat, perform research on nursery habitat and control juvenile harvesting on the island.


P.J. Foley, Hough’s Neck Salt Marshes, Quincy, Mass.
P.J. Foley has shown that change often begins when one person stands up to do what is necessary. Foley began by recognizing the degraded condition of the Hough’s Neck salt marshes in Quincy. Realizing that restoring the marshes would bring back fish and waterfowl, benefitting the entire city, he began taking action. After cleaning the marshes behind his house, he began holding neighborhood meetings to discuss marsh restoration. When support swelled to over 80 people involved, his action paid off with a $4 million federal grant to restore 750 acres of wetlands in Hough’s Neck. U.S. Representative William Delahunt credited Foley with spearheading the effort and building the support to make the grant a reality. Thanks to his efforts, Quincy will have better commercial fish stocks, enjoyable open space, improved tourism, better flood control, trash abatement and pesticide-free mosquito reduction.


Charles Costello, Wetlands Protection, MA Department of Environmental Protection
Charles Costello has revolutionized wetlands enforcement at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and across Massachusetts. By combining new mapping technologies with aerial photographs taken about a decade apart, DEP is able to detect wetland changes that may have been brought about by violations of state and federal wetlands laws. Already, DEP has taken action against two landowners, requiring restoration and penalties of $280,000. More importantly, the department’s “nowhere-to-hide” technology has sent a strong deterrence message to future potential violators. The mapping technology is applicable to other states as well, and groups such as the Association of State Wetlands Managers, are eager to apply the technology more widely. This success is only the latest in Costello’s long career as a dedicated public servant, one that deserves recognition with this award.


Colleen Abrams, Wachusett Greenways, Holden, Mass.
Colleen Abrams’ environmental contributions in the Wachusett region of Massachusetts are numerous and wide-ranging. Perhaps her greatest contribution is as founder and president of Wachusett Greenways, whose central project is developing 30 miles of the Mass Central Rail Trail, a recreational trail recycled from an old rail bed that runs from Northampton to Boston.
Formed in 1995, the group has grown to over 500 paying members and already has eight miles of trail completed, with another four miles slated for completion this year. This is in addition to Abrams’ work founding the Wachusett Earth Day Collection and Wachusett Recycle Resource Center, both of which are continuing to collect household waste and surplus goods that can be recycled. She is also a board member of the White Oak Trust, a non-profit organization preserving open space in the Holden region, continues to volunteer at the Mayo Elementary School and sits on the town of Holden’s Solid Waste Recycling Task Force.


LeadSafeHomes.info, Boston, Mass.
LeadSafeHomes.info provides parents, community leaders and health care providers in Boston, Baltimore and Chicago with easily accessible information about the lead status of housing units in their neighborhoods. The website, launched this year and developed by Abt Associates with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides users with address-specific information on the lead status of houses and about inspection, violation and lead-standard compliance rates in their neighborhoods. The information is formatted so that individual reports can be easily printed and taken home if the website is accessed at a clinic or community center. By making this information available to residents and potential renters, it allows families to make informed choices, and provides incentives for landlords to reduce lead risks in their units. Key partners in this success story include: Lead Action Collaborative, City of Boston Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Bowdoin Street Health Center, Codman Square Health Center, Health Services Partnership of Dorchester, and National Center for Healthy Housing.


Genzyme Corp., New Headquarters, Cambridge, Mass.
Genzyme’s new 12-story headquarters building is a model of environmentally sound construction. The building includes a full height atrium and a system to reflect natural light from the roof into the atrium and from the atrium into working spaces. A computerized system automatically balances artificial light with natural sunlight to reduce energy use and improve working conditions. Easy-to-open windows allow for natural ventilation, A rooftop garden and rainwater collection system reduce stormwater runoff from the building, thus improving water quality downstream. Together, conservation features will reduce energy use by about 35 percent and water use by 32 percent. Additionally, the decision to locate the building in an urban redevelopment site near public transit, reduces the impact of commuting and spares undeveloped open space elsewhere. The building has already won an EPA 2003 Waste Wise Building Challenge Program Champion Award and was included on EPA’s Best Workplaces for Commuters list for 2003.


A.J. Martini Inc., New Headquarters, Winchester, Mass.
When A.J. Martini Inc. decided to move its corporate offices, the general contracting firm made a commitment to use sustainable design and materials as much as possible. The company’s goal was to help the environment, and demonstrate how much a mid-sized company can do to make a difference with its office space. The new headquarters was located in an existing unused building to spare open space from new construction, and was renovated using sustainable materials wherever possible. Features include all lighting and plumbing fixtures replaced with high-efficiency models, a new efficient HVAC system, a design to bring daylight into the building (including skylights, sidelights, and exterior windows), light sensors and motion detectors to minimize unneeded lighting, easy-to-open windows to reduce utility usage, and a gym and showers in the building to encourage bicycle commuting. The company is using the building as a model to show hundreds of other corporate leaders, architects and developers what can be done.


MASCO Longwood Medical Area Bus Fleet Retrofit, Boston, Mass.
Boston’s Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO) has taken a first-in-the-country stand to reduce pollution from the bus fleet servicing Boston’s Longwood Medical area. MASCO’s fleet of 17 shuttle buses carry 2.1 million passengers annually, eliminating pollution from individual car trips by staff and visitors. In 2003, MASCO took another step, by fitting all its buses with emissions technology that reduces particulate pollution by 90 percent. While this technology has to date been primarily sponsored by EPA and other agencies, MASCO’s member institutions have underwritten the cost of the upgrade. John Carney, from Paul Revere Transportation services, a critical partner in MASCO’s effort, is also being recognized today. MASCO is the first private transit agency that EPA New England is aware of to voluntarily retrofit its bus fleet with particulate filters and low sulfur fuel. MASCO has created a model for other fleets in the Boston area and across the country to follow.


Green Neighborhoods Alliance, Massachusetts
The Green Neighborhoods Alliance has been working since 1997 to reshape suburban development to reduce sprawl and minimize environmental impacts. A collaboration founded by Mass Audubon and the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Office, as well as planners, environmentalists, state and municipal officials, lawyers, developers and real estate agents, the Alliance is a model for showing how different interest groups can cooperate to find a better path for development. The group has concentrated on promoting the Open Space Residential Design model for housing developments, a development style that preserves open space and encourages strong neighborhoods while not reducing the number of homes built. A major initiative has been to develop model ordinances that will encourage this type of development, which at times is not permitted due to outdated zoning ordinances. Already 11 Massachusetts municipalities have adopted Open Space Residential Design ordinances and many more have received information and are considering changes. The Alliance’s success has led to four Open Space Residential Design subdivisions currently underway in the state.


Healthy Public Housing Initiative, Boston, Mass.
The Healthy Public Housing Initiative is helping to make Boston’s public housing a cleaner, healthier place for all who live there. The initiative is a collaborative effort among public housing residents, resident advocacy groups, the Boston Housing Authority, the Boston Public Health Commission and three Schools of Public Health at Harvard, Boston University and the Tufts School of Medicine. The group focuses on giving public housing residents the tools they need to evaluate and improve their indoor air quality, with a focus on reducing asthma and addressing healthy building improvements during energy conservation-related upgrades. In the past year, the initiative has worked with the families of 60 children in three developments to improve pest management in their apartments through means such as better moisture management, improved food storage and new mattresses. The initiative is now working to develop programs that the Boston Housing Authority can implement in all of its units citywide and to share its lessons with other housing authorities across the country.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers NE District, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program, Concord, Mass.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New England District is serving as a national model with its Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program. The program provides scientific, engineering and construction services to work with federal, state and local agencies in restoring degraded aquatic ecosystems. The program has developed state-of-the-art science and engineering tools on projects, ranging from restoring hundreds of acres of salt marsh in Galilee, RI and Sagamore, MA, to restoring river habitat on the Naugatuck River in Connecticut and the Presumpscot River in Maine, to eelgrass restoration in Ninigret Pond in Rhode Island. The district’s leadership in the Coastal America Partnership has helped establish Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnerships in all five of New England’s coastal states. The New England District’s program is being copied and replicated all across the country.


New England Drinking Water Source Protection Coordinators
Andrew Durham, Nicholas Anastas, Kathy Romero and Lydia Thompson, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Over the last four years, the six New England state drinking water source protection coordinators have made tremendous contributions to the long-term safety and viability of drinking water for New England residents. Since 1999, the various state programs, working with local, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations, have completed over 2,500 source water assessments, identifying potential threats to drinking water from hundreds of municipal and private suppliers in New England. But they have also gone far beyond information gathering by launching creative new programs to ensure that drinking water threats do not materialize. Efforts include partnering with non-profit agencies and drinking water suppliers to protect source waters, drafting model land conservation easements with the New Hampshire Society for the Protection of Forests, starting land conservation programs to purchase critical land near drinking water sources and working with Maine’s George Mitchell Center to create a manual on source water protection for suppliers.


Related Information:
Environmental Merit
Awards