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Ms. Thu Bui Receives Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 06/09/2011
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or www.epa.gov/gmpo

(STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - June 9, 2011) – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that Ms. Thu Bui of New Iberia, Louisiana will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the new Cultural Diversity/Environmental Justice Category. The Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting on August 3, 2011, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place in New Orleans.

During the days following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill event, there were many people who rose to the occasion to help those people most impacted. Among the thousands of state and federal employees and private sector workers, one Vietnamese lady stands out among the crowd. Thu Bui is a Marine Extension Agent with the LSU AgCenter and LA Sea Grant Program. During the oil spill, she played a vital role in assisting fishermen and especially the Vietnamese fishermen in their efforts to cope with the crisis. Most of the offshore shrimp fleet and a large number of the crab fishermen in that region are Asian-American. Her Vietnamese heritage and her knowledge and experience in the fishing industry enabled Thu to sense the needs of the fishermen and deliver culturally appropriate educational programs. The fishermen in her region depend on word of mouth communication rather than email, Face book or Twitter. That is why Thu spread the word about meetings by visiting the docks and contacting key community leaders. Over 400 commercial fishermen and their families in her region, both Anglo-American and Vietnamese-American alike, were kept informed about the Deepwater Horizon response and recovery issues in a timely, factual and non-biased way. Besides her efforts related to the oil spill, Thu has been involved with safety training programs for fishermen in conjunction with the Texas Health Science Center. She also serves on a U.S. Coast Guard advisory committee dealing with commercial fishing safety and environmental concerns.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners demonstrate great examples of collaborative efforts leading to solutions that address the Gulf of Mexico environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. "Their accomplishments are making a positive difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf and EPA is pleased to recognize their environmental stewardship."

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Gloria Car, Acting Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “This is the 11th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts. The 2011 award winners truly exemplify the enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses who address complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo.

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