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Kicking Off Earth Week, EPA Honors New Jersey Environmental Leaders

Release Date: 04/19/2013
Contact Information: Jennifer May, (212) 637-3658, 646-369-0039 may.jennifer@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has honored four individuals and organizations from across New Jersey with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance to present the awards to this year’s recipients at a ceremony at EPA’s offices in Manhattan.

      “EPA is thrilled to honor the work of these environmental trailblazers,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “These New Jerseyans have had a major impact on protecting the environment in their communities and inspire us all to work for a cleaner, healthier environment.”

      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/.

      Attached is a list of the award winners.

      2013 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS
      ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

      Alder Avenue Middle School
      Since, 2011 Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey has spearheaded an energy conservation program that reduces costs while benefitting the environment. By reducing consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water, the school has saved more than one million dollars.

      Great Falls Youth Corps
      The Great Falls Youth Corps has not only made great improvements to Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, it has provided opportunities to environmentally-conscious youth in the process. The Great Falls Youth Corps challenges a select group of teenagers to help protect, enhance and beautify a historic area of northern New Jersey. Under the Youth Corps’ leadership, public access to the park has increased, the appearance of the park has improved and hands-on science curriculum has been provided to more than 300 elementary school students.

      INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN

      Jeremy Irons and Ralph Hagen of Hydro-Marine Construction
      When Hurricane Sandy destroyed a sluice gate at the Middlesex County Utilities Authority’s Sayreville Pump Station, untreated sewage began flowing into the Raritan River and Bay system. In order to stop the flow, two divers from Hydro-Marine Construction – Jeremy Irons and Ralph Hagen – were called in to install a six thousand pound sluice gate in the plant, which was still under water. Ralph and Jeremy both performed dangerous dives into 25 feet of raw sewage in a confined space, contending with low-visibility, displaced objects and other elements that made this a particularly dangerous dive. Ultimately, their successful installation of the gate accelerated the restart of the Sayreville Pump station by two to three months and prevented the discharge of potentially hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into surrounding waters.

      Dr. Frank Gallagher
      In 32 years of work with the Sussex County Soil Conservation District and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Frank Gallagher protected the parks and forestry in New Jersey. One of his proudest accomplishments is ecological planning for the Natural Restoration of Liberty State Park, a park that sits on a former chromium site and is now one of New Jersey’s most loved and most visited parks.

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