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Connecticut Citizens Receive Prestigious Regional Environmental Award

Release Date: 05/03/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - May 3, 2006) - One Connecticut resident and one group from the Constitution State will be honored on Thursday, May 4 in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presents the 2006 Environmental Merit Awards.

Recognizing significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, the Connecticut awardees included one for individual contributions, one for efforts by environmental/community/academia/non-profit organizations, and one lifetime achievement award.

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 approximately 50 nominations from across New England.

“These 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. “The work of these individuals, organizations and businesses reflect the best attributes of New Englanders, working to find solutions to environmental issues. I offer my gratitude for their extraordinary contributions in protecting the environment.”

The winners from Connecticut were among 19 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 Connecticut are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:
Jane Stahl

Jane K. Stahl, former Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), joined the Department as an Environmental Analyst in the Office of Long Island Sound Programs in 1978. In the 27 years Deputy Commissioner Stahl worked at the Department, she held a number of managerial positions while helping the create one of the nation’s strongest coastal management programs. Over the last eight years, she has served in the capacity of Deputy Commissioner, overseeing the operations of the Environmental Quality Branch of the Department. Under her leadership, the DEP continued to explore, develop and implement a number of innovative approaches to environmental protection, including enhancing the agency’s environmental justice program, developing the agency’s first multi-media strategic plan and developing and implementing the state’s aquifer protection program. Her specific accomplishments include: overseeing the development and implementation of one of the most comprehensive mercury reduction programs in the nation, managing resource protection efforts that resulted in the Lower Connecticut (CT) River being recognized by the Ramsar Convention as a “Wetlands of International Importance”, developing CT’s Nitrogen Credit Exchange Program, leading CT’s efforts to establish Total Maximum Daily Load plans for all of the states waterways, coordinating the effort to create and manage the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge and providing leadership in balancing a number of large scale redevelopment projects—to name a few. We honor Jane for a lifetime of service protecting the environment in Connecticut and beyond.

Local, State or Federal Governmental Environmental Merit Award:
Connecticut Clean Diesel Plan Team
Commissioner Gina McCarthy, Tracy Babbidge, Paul Farrell, Pat Kelly, Bill Menz, Susan Amarello and Ariel Garcia

The Connecticut Clean Diesel Plan Team is being commended for their extraordinary efforts in developing a comprehensive plan for reducing diesel emissions that went beyond those required in a special act of the state Legislature. The Team worked to tirelessly address the problems caused by diesel exhaust which cause people to breathe fine particles that aggravate heart and lung diseases and has been linked to cardiovascular symptoms, cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, respiratory symptoms, asthma attacks and bronchitis. By enlisting a broad-base of stakeholders including businesses, environmentalists, educational and government actors, and local community groups, the Team developed an inventory of diesel vehicles to identify the most cost-effective strategies to reduce diesel emissions through a combination of cleaner fuels, early vehicle replacement and vehicle retrofits. Through stakeholder meetings, the group also identified creative strategies for overcoming funding barriers by employing tax incentives, contract specifications, Department of Energy State Energy Program funds and other funding available for vehicle retrofits. One of the great benefits of the Plan is that it will reduce emissions in several communities in the state which suffer disproportionately from the impacts of air pollution thereby addressing environmental justice concerns. The plan will not only serve as a blueprint for the state of Connecticut, but will serve as a model for other states to develop diesel reduction strategies.

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