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Bay Staters Receive Earth Day Honors with Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Award

Release Date: 04/17/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 17, 2007) – Five Massachusetts citizens, plus six groups and one business working in the Bay State will be honored on Wednesday, April 18 in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presents its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2007.

The merit awards, recognizing significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, include a top posthumous honor for two Massachusetts civil servants - a lifetime achievement award. EPA is also recognizing three other individuals and six different groups for making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.

Given out by EPA since 1970, the merit awards 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 54 nominations from across New England.

“Our Environmental Merit Awards are among the highest honors EPA can bestow to recognize environmental accomplishments,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England Office. “I offer my gratitude to these citizens for their extraordinary contributions in protecting our shared environment. Their work reflects the best attributes of New Englanders, working to find solutions to tough environmental issues.”

The Massachusetts Environmental Merit Award winners were among 29 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. Also, each year EPA may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

The Environmental Merit Award Winners from Massachusetts are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:

Elaine T. Krueger (posthumous)

Elaine T. Krueger, Director of the Environmental Toxicology Program within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (MDPH) Center for Environmental Health for over twenty-four years, died on October 20, 2006, after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Elaine dedicated her life to public health, specifically environmental health, for thirty-four years. As director of the MDPH Environmental Toxicology program, Elaine routinely evaluated the health risks from exposure to chemicals in the environment, and made critical recommendations based on her evaluations. She also shared her findings with the public to raise awareness, gaining much respect and appreciation throughout her community. Over the years, Elaine was involved in several seminal and high profile projects. She was interviewed by Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, she led the Department’s efforts to ban the use of the pesticide Alar in food products and urea formaldehyde foam insulation in homes, and was primarily responsible for validating the groundwater model used to demonstrate the link between a mother’s consumption of contaminated drinking water during pregnancy and the incidence of childhood leukemia in Woburn, Mass. She is largely credited for all of the fish advisories issues by MDPH over the last thirty years, and played a key role in assessing health impacts from PCBs in New Bedford Harbor fish. These accomplishments over her lifetime describe only a portion of her many accomplishments. We honor Elaine for a lifetime of service protecting the environment in Massachusetts, and the citizens who live in it.

Susan Snow-Cotter (posthumous)

As a born leader, in her community, in her work, and with her family, Susan Snow-Cotter’s untimely death at age 45, does not diminish the impact of her life’s work that will continue to be felt for future generations. For over a dozen years in state government, Mrs. Snow-Cotter cut a path where she rose to direct the office that creates policy to balance environmental protection with the human use of the ocean along the Massachusetts Coast. At the Office for Coastal Zone Management, she developed the state’s first plan for aquaculture. Her expertise in coastal management turned Susan into a sought-after speaker nationally and internationally. Susan’s dedication and enthusiasm for the environment, was an inspiration to all. After being diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks prior to her death, Susan showed the same courage and strength that was a signature for how she lived her life. Susan Snow-Cotter is honored for all of her hard work protecting the beautiful coast of New England and for all of the love, leadership and devotion she showed to her family and friends throughout her life.


Individual Environmental Merit Award:

Jaci Barton
Executive Director, Barnstable Land Trust (BLT)

Jaci Barton is being recognized for her innovation and ambition to preserve the unique characteristics of the Town of Barnstable—its wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife—for the benefit of the community, and its future generations. After 22 years of Jaci’s leadership, BLT’s membership has grown to over 2,500 families and businesses, a volunteer base of more then 250 individuals and a staff of 4 full-time and 2 part-time professionals. Today BLT is the steward of 647 acres of permanently-protected land, and its assets exceed $15 million. Jaci has also assisted the Town with the preservation of more then 2,000 acres for conservation and recreation. To top these accomplishments, Jaci has been continually active in local politics and has led successful capital campaigns to preserve critical properties within the community. She is truly a leader in conservation and a visionary in her creative collaborations.

Barbara Warren
Executive Director, Salem Sound Coastwatch (SSCW)

Barbara Warren has dedicated her professional and personal time to protecting Salem Sound and ensuring that the Salem coast is free from environmental hazards through her position as Executive Director of Salem Sound Coastwatch. Barbara has been instrumental to EPA New England’s Clean Beaches and Streams Program by monitoring culverts and pipes that discharge to the many beaches and coastal waters in Salem Sound. She performs this work on a biweekly basis during the spring and summer while strategically targeting several areas thought to suffer from major sources of bacterial contamination. Barbara regularly publishes the results of her monitoring on-line for public access. Additionally, she recently spearheaded an initiative to survey boaters with the ultimate goal of designating Salem Sound a “no discharge area.”

Wigton Zamore
Founding Member of the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP), Member of the Mystic View Task Force (MVTV)

Wigton Zamore has committed himself to working to promote environmental justice within the City of Somerville, Massachusetts through his work identifying sources of air pollution and educating others about it. In his quest to reduce air pollution and the number of cars and buses on the roads in Somerville, Wigton has played a major role in advocating and securing plans for the State of Massachusetts to honor the Ozone State Improvement Plan that calls for an extension of the Green Line through the City. Wigton has also worked to reduce the number of cars permitted at the Assembly Square Mall, and has secured $15 million to build an Orange Line stop at the mall. Among other accomplishments, Wig helped foster an agreement with developers to fund a study on air quality impacts on residents in close proximity to the Assembly Square Mall, I-93 and Route 28, and to look for ways to mitigate the air pollution effects for these residents. Wigton has shown years of dedication and collaboration with partners at all levels to ensure human health is protected and preserved.


Environmental, Community, Academia, and Non-Profit Organizations:

The Cape Keepers Campaign

The Cape Keepers Campaign was established by a coalition of organizations led by the Barnstable County Water Protection Collaborative, to encourage Cap Cod residents and business owners to learn about the impacts of septic system use and to take responsibility for the health of their ponds, bays and estuaries. The purpose this grassroots education campaign is to empower business, community, education and environmental leaders with the information needed to help limit nitrogen discharge. Over the past year the Cape Keepers developed a series of initiatives to solve this problem, including an intense public awareness campaign reaching out to all age groups. The commitment, leadership and breadth of knowledge exhibited by this coalition has been a model for other communities during this time of financial constraints and limited resources.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI)

In 2006 DFCI became the first hospital in New England to adopt contract language requiring its contractors to adhere to strict no idling policies and install advanced pollution control technology on diesel equipment operating on site. Working with their partner, Walsh Brothers Construction Company, DFCI took proactive measures to reduce diesel emissions by using cleaner diesel fuel and advanced pollution control technology that reduced emissions between twenty and forty percent per vehicle, creating a measurable and lasting benefit to both the public and the environment.

Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE)

SAFE is a group dedicated to assuring that Salem, a historical maritime community, is a healthy and prosperous place to live by advocating for the protection of the City’s air, land and water and encouraging energy efficiency and toxic waste cleanup. This year SAFE has aggressively encouraged Salem residents to take an energy conservation pledge, organized a campaign to convince residents to participate in the GreenUP program, promoted the “ENERGY STAR Change a Light Pledge” and played a vital role in the creation of Salem’s first Renewable Energy Task Force. SAFE is also renewing and recommending energy conservation policies and projects and educating residents on how they can implement energy efficient ideas within their own households.

Business, Industry, Trade or Professional Organization:

Computershare’s eTree Program

The eTree initiative aims to protect the environment by changing the way listed companies communicate with their shareholders. Millions of shareholders can help the environment by registering to receive company documents electronically, triggering a contribution of one dollar to American Forests by the member company, which in turn goes to American Forests’ tree planting efforts. Shareholders can thus contribute directly to the environment without spending a cent. As of January 2007, 83,000 trees have been planted in the US, which means there will be 83,000 fewer shareholder annual reports in landfills every year. As a result, eTree estimates that over 3,600 trees have been allowed to continue growing. The use of eTree initiative funds for large-scale reforestation programs results in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The trees planted in the US represent the removal of more than 27,000 tons of carbon over a forty year period. The eTree Program has partnered with over 120 companies and over 600,000 shareholders worldwide and has ultimately helped reduce significantly the amount of waste generated from printed shareholder communications while also battling climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide and planting trees.


Governmental:

City of Cambridge, Massachusetts - Climate Change Team

The City of Cambridge has proven itself as an environmental leader by implementing many climate change policies throughout the City and has established a laudable record of creative activities to further its environmental protection goals. Cambridge was one of the first East Coast cities to join the EPA-supported “Cities for Climate Protection” program. Through this program, Cambridge is undertaking a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory and energy audit, and plans to adopt, though a broadly based stakeholder process, a comprehensive Climate Action Plan. The Plan sets a specific and aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goal of twenty percent below 1990 levels by 2020, for the City. Cambridge has promoted “green buildings,” pursued a “climate friendly” procurement program, maintains a comprehensive climate protection website, and purchased low m.p.g. vehicles for the City’s fleet. Through these and many other efforts, the City of Cambridge has been an inspiration for other communities across New England working on climate change and energy issues.

Town of Danvers, Massachusetts

The Town of Danvers, Massachusetts is being honored for their extraordinary response to the massive explosion at the CAI/Arnell facility in the early morning hours of November 22, 2006. The Town’s police and fire departments immediately implemented rescue and evacuation operations while working side-by-side with environmental responders to ensure that the explosion did not threaten public health or nearby waterways. While miraculously there were no casualties or serious injuries in the over 100 homes and businesses that were evacuated, the Town overcame unique challenges during its evacuation operations. Danvers was able to immediately and effectively integrate numerous State, federal and local resources into its operations, worked heroically to extinguish the fire, and initiated and coordinated investigations into its cause. The Town Manager and Town Department Chiefs conducted daily public briefings to enable affected citizens to express their concerns and helped secure resources to the citizens who were forced to cope with their losses. Considering the magnitude of the incident, the national media attention, and the large number of State and federal agencies involved in this response, the Town did an incredible job of maintaining calm while compassionately and effectively addressing both the physical and environmental damage from this explosion.

Massachusetts Clean Diesel Team

To address state-wide lifetime asthma rates of more than 14 percent, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made a firm commitment to reduce pollution from diesel engines. Over the past few years the Commonwealth has demonstrated this commitment through efforts to educate stakeholders while building state capacity to address diesel pollution. These efforts include: the development of a school bus drive anti-idling video, adoption of bid specifications requiring the use of advanced pollution control technology in all Massachusetts highway department construction projects, retrofitting approximately twenty-five pieces of paving equipment statewide, encouraging the development of Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) sites across the state by committing more than $500,000 toward the purchase of TSE hours, and making the purchase of cleaner fuel and advanced pollution control equipment less onerous by adding these specifications to statewide purchasing contracts. Additionally, the Commonwealth has allocated $22.5 million to retrofit school busses and transit busses across the state. Through outreach, education and a designated pool of funding, the state has laid the groundwork for a cleaner, healthier Massachusetts.

More information: Environmental Merit Awards (epa.gov/ne/ra/ema)

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