EPA to Honor 19 Northern California Environmental Heros
Release Date: 4/21/2003
Contact Information: Leo Kay, (415) 947-4306; or Wendy Chavez, (415) 947-4248
SAN FRANCISCO -- During the agency's fifth annual Environmental Awards Ceremony in San
Francisco tomorrow, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri will present plaques to 19
Northern California organizations and individuals in recognition of their efforts to protect and preserve
the environment in 2002.
"These groups and individuals have applied creativity, teamwork and leadership in addressing many
of Northern California's most pressing and complex environmental problems," Nastri said. "Thanks to
their efforts, our air, water and land will be cleaner and safer for generations to come. The winners set an
example for all of us to follow."
The EPA Region 9 Environmental Awards program acknowledges commitment and significant
contributions to the environment in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam and tribal lands. Forty
four groups and individuals were selected from over 200 nominees received this year from businesses,
media, local, state and federal government officials, tribes, environmental organizations and citizen
The Northern California winners and basis for recognition are:
The primary goal of the Presidio Compost and Regeneration Program is to develop high-quality, natural
soil amendments for use throughout this spectacular 1,500-acre Army post turned national park. In 2002,
this program produced over 800 cubic yards of compost for use on landscapes, grounds, forests, and
natural areas. In addition to improving soils at the Presidio, this program helped the Trust and others
eliminate toxic material use and significantly reduce waste. Over 3,500 cubic yards of organic debris
were diverted from the waste stream, and the golf course reduced pesticide use to 98 percent less than
private San Francisco golf courses. The program is essential to the restoration and healthy maintenance
of the Presidio. This valuable environmental program is made possible by the vision, hard work,
enthusiasm, and dedication of two young women; Jean Koch, Presidio Compost Coordinator and Christa
Conforti, Presidio Integrated Pest Management Coordinator.
St. Elizabeth Community Hospital
St. Elizabeth Community Hospital is one of the first 100 hospitals in the nation to commit to the
"Healthcare Without Harm" waste reduction promise. Every department in the hospital has something to
contribute to waste reduction, re-use or recycling. Good re-usable furniture and products are donated to a
hospital run Hospice thrift store or the Home Health for Hispanic Mothers program. Ink and toner
cartridges are donated to a local school which recycles them and uses the funds for school field trips.
Blue wrap is recycled in the surgery department. Stretch wrap is recycled in the receiving department.
This year the X-ray department purchased a new film developer machine that will reduce hospital water
and chemical use by half. The cafeteria recycles cups and plastic ware as well as aluminum cooking pans
and cooking oil. This year their Earth Day program will include a community wide mercury thermometer
exchange. St Elizabeth's is a small but significant hospital doing their part to 'first do no harm.'
Peninsula Open Space Trust
Peninsula Open Space Trust is dedicated to protecting the beauty, character, and diversity of the San
Francisco Peninsula coast. Since its founding in 1977 by a small group of local, visionary citizens, the
Trust has protected more than 50,000 acres of open space. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2002, the
Trust undertook an unprecedented $200 million campaign to save 20,000 acres of endangered coast. One
of several high profile accomplishments, the Trust spearheaded a partnership with California State Parks
to acquire and restore the 130-year-old Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Thanks to the Trust's hard work, the
lighthouse remains in the public trust and the 7,500 acres surrounding the lighthouse are protected and
look much the same as when built in 1873.
Ritu Primlani, Greening South Asian Restaurants
Rita Primlani's organization, Greening South Asian Restaurants, seeks to educate and facilitate South
Asian restaurants in implementing environmental practices such as waste reduction, recycling,
composting, energy efficiency, improving water quality and pollution prevention. To ensure program
access, Greening South Asian Restaurant's work includes providing language interpreters for non-
English speaking restaurant owners. In December 2002, 10-plus businesses in Alameda County received
green business certification through the County's green business program. Primlani's environmental
education program helped many of those restaurants exceed requirements by more than 200 percent.
Formed in 1995, Project Build was the first brownfields job training program in the nation and enrolls
formerly incarcerated students, substance abusers, and the unemployed. By the most recent tally, 80
percent of trainees completed their programs and 93 percent of graduates were placed in jobs paying an
average wage of $11.42 per hour. Under the passionate and unflappable leadership of Alonzo Emery,
Project Build has certified hundreds of trainees in skills including basic construction, hazardous waste
handling, and lead and asbestos abatement, resulting in contaminated wetlands being restored, overall
neighborhood and community revitalization, and a trained workforce ready to take on environmental
careers. In recommending this nomination to us, Patricia Foster, Mayor of East Palo Alto wrote, "Alonzo
(Emery) and Project Build are revitalizing East Palo Alto's environment, not just in the soil and
groundwater, but in our people's hearts and lives".
George Zastrow has proven to be a true friend to the Russian River. He co-chaired the Russian River
Cleanup, which yielded 2,000 tires, more than 400 yards of general trash, over 200 yards of scrap metal,
150 barrels of recyclable materials, car batteries, paints, solvents and industrial materials all dredged
from the 53 miles of the Russian River from Cloverdale to Jenner. He's succeeded in acquiring local,
state and federal funds for this effort. He now volunteers to scout out potential clean upsites and "watch
dogs" industry on the Lower Russian River. Through his tireless efforts, one of the most noteworthy
water shed and river contamination cases was brought to justice. Zastrow also owns and operates a local
print shop where he uses the large glass storefront window to display panoramas depicting the river in
both splendor and peril reminding the community that the river's health is of the utmost importance.
The Dow Wetlands Environmental Team
For the past 12 years a team of Dow employees, retirees, and community members have labored tirelessly
to create an award winning wetlands habitat between the cities of Pittsburg and Antioch, Calif. along the
banks of the San Joaquin River near its confluence with the Sacramento River. Led by employees Krist
Jensen and Sheryl Sturges, the area was cleared of debris and abandoned auto bodies. The Dow
Wetlands is used for public enjoyment and education and is registered with the Wildlife Habitat Council,
who awarded the wetlands its national Corporate Habitat of the Year in 2000. The Dow team has
partnered with UC Berkeley, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Learner Centered School, Lincoln Childcare
Center, local school districts, and other organizations to restore, rehabilitate and management the wildlife
habitat. The annual Environmental Faire draws approximately 1,500 to 2,000 visitors. Coastal America
and the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership recently approached the team to lead other
corporations throughout California to undertake conservation and wetlands restoration projects.
Straus Family Creamery
The Straus Family Creamery, an organic dairy processor that processes milk from its own dairy and two
others, has consistently pushed the envelope to improve its environmental responsibility. Straus bottles
its milk in recycled and reusable glass bottles, has retooled equipment to use less water, and supports
family farmers in its area by helping them convert to organic. With the help of the Resource
Conservation District and the EPA, the creamery put in a methane digester to power both its dairy and its
upcoming new creamery. The company has hired a green architect to plan an environmentally
responsible manufacturing plant and it works closely with the community to minimize non-point source
pollution. The Straus Family Creamery works to educate the community on organic, family farmers, the
benefits of reusable packaging, and other environmental issues.
Judi Henderson of Mannequin Madness
Mannequin Madness creatively reuses and recycles mannequins and is a one of its kind in Northern
California. Opening its doors in 2001, the store rents or resells old, broken, or unused mannequins at
significant discount to businesses, non-profits, and individuals. In one six-month period, Mannequin
Madness diverted over 100,000 pounds of mannequins from Bay Area landfills. The store pays a small
incentive fee for the 7-20 pound mannequins that would normally be dumped into landfills where they do
not easily biodegrade. State Senator Jackie Speier along with the San Francisco Renaissance
Entrepreneur Center last year awarded the business the "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award.@
Mannequin Madness also uses recycled styrofoam peanuts when shipping mannequins and is a local
recycle collection facility for styrofoam peanuts.
Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project: California District Attorneys Association
The California District Attorneys Associations Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project is a unique and
innovative program that provides experienced environmental prosecutors and training to rural counties
that lack the expertise and the personnel to prosecute environmental crime. In one of its biggest
settlements, circuit prosecutors along with the Attorney General's office, negotiated with responsible
parties in Stanislaus County for violations stemming from the Westley tire fire that engulfed over five
million waste tires in 1999. Since its inception in 1998, the circuit prosecutor project has handled over
900 major environmental cases and obtained more than $22 million in penalties, fines and costs.
Because of state budget cuts, this program often stands as the sole source of environmental enforcement
and training in many rural counties and also provides a potential deterrent to violations, further protecting
public health and the environment.
Margaret Perry, Nan Deniston, and Wayne Miller
Smith Ranch, Parker Family Forest and Miller Ranch
The families of these three ranches located in the Ten Mile River watershed of Mendocino County are
being recognized for their good land stewardship. They are committed to implementing the best
management practices coupled with a sustainable forestry philosophy that preserves the beauty of their
lands, sustains its economic viability and promotes the recovery of the watershed and threatened salmon
species. Leaving light footprints on the landscape is a continuing commitment by these ranchers -- an
accelerated recovery of this sediment-impaired watershed is expected because of their combined work.
These landowners' silvicultural operations have resulted in water protection, soil stability, forest
productivity, wildlife habitat and natural diversity for further generations to come.
Hewlett Packard Product Recycling Solutions Program
Hewlett Packard has been an industry leader in its efforts to promote recycling and product stewardship.
Electronic waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream and is posing problems to waste
management programs across the country. This growing, changing product stream presents new
challenges and responsibilities in designing and managing electronic products to reduce their life-cycle
environmental impacts. Hewlett Packard's computer hardware recycling service is a simple and
environmentally sound take-back program that offers consumers and business customers the ability to
return any piece of computer hardware from any manufacturer. Its state-of-the- art processing facilities
ensure that unwanted hardware is reused or recycled in a way that conserves resources. Hewlett Packard
program provides leadership in the electronic manufacturing industry and protects the environment from
contamination from toxic materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium.
Petaluma Poultry is considered a leader in the production of natural, free range and organic chicken.
Early in 2001 a group of 13 employees voluntarily created the company's "sustainability team" to reduce
the facility's ecological footprint. By 2002, the facility's workforce of 240 people had greened
operations at the feed mill, hatchery, farms and processing plant/administration and sales offices. While
Petaluma Poultry's production increased by over 20 percent in 2002, natural gas usage per unit decreased
by roughly 4 percent thanks to a more efficient boiler and careful management and the gathering of real-
time data in the barns. Long ago the company abandoned the use of herbicides, experimenting with
white distilled vinegar and using push mowers to control weeds in the native grass landscaping where the
free range chickens roam. A vector control strip keeps insects and rodents controlled. Petaluma Poultry
runs an aggressive recycling program for everything from paper, cardboard and glass to wood pallets, oil
filters and antifreeze. The facility also recycles 30,000 square yards of bedding and manure annually,
providing materials to local landscapers, vineyards, pastures and rice fields.
Petaluma & Irvine
For 100 years, 3M's success has come from developing innovative technologies and products to meet
customers' needs. 3M is committed to sustainable development through environmental protection, social
responsibility and economic progress. From 1990-2001, the company reduced its volatile organic air
emissions by 91 percent, its manufacturing releases to water by 84 percent, reduced its rate of waste
generation by 35 percent and reduced by 88 percent chemical releases reported annually to the EPA's
Toxic Release Inventory . In addition, 3M has been an active member in the EPA's National
Environmental Performance Track program. Over the last year, 3M has assisted Region 9 recruit new
performance track members and set the bar for environmental excellence in Region 9.
Facilities seeking entry into the Performance Track Program must have adopted and implemented an
environmental management system, commit to improving their environmental performance, commit to
public outreach and performance reporting, and have a record of sustained compliance with
NASA Ames Research Center
NASA Ames is a federal facility engaged in scientific research and development in the following fields:
aeronautics, aerospace, information technology, astrobiology, space science, earth science,
nanotechnology, biotechnology, and human exploration and development of space. Utilizing Integrated
Pest Management and Integrated Vegetation Management including use of goats for vegetation control,
traps for pest control and composting for fertilizer, NASA reduced their pesticide use by 98 percent in
eight years (in 1994 they were applying 4,000 gallons of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers on their
property, in 2002 they used 50 gallons). The facility further committed to reduce their energy use by
7,894,714 kilowatt hours by 2005.
Energy Star is a dynamic government/industry partnership that offers businesses and consumers energy-
efficient solutions, making it easy to save money while protecting the environment for future generations
by reducing energy use as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Paratransit, Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation that provides demand-responsive transportation
services to individuals and agencies who serve both the elderly and those with disabilities. In 1998,
property occupied by a former auto dealership was donated to the company to relocate and expand its
maintenance, bus parking, fueling and administrative facilities. In 2002, when the 23,000 square-foot
structure was transformed into a state-of-the-art facility housing the administrative offices, Paratransit
made extensive structural and lighting upgrades. In addition, Paratransit built a new 10,000 square feet
garage facility. In total, the upgrades produce a savings of about 235,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity
annually, which will prevent over 292,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and save Paratransit
more than $18,000 per year.
Woodcrest Hotel general manager Dean Zhang installed energy-efficient building upgrades in the 20,000
square-foot hotel with some help from Silicon Valley Power financial incentives. Zhang replaced the
incandescent lamps in all 52 guest rooms with compact florescent lamps, installed light-emitting exit
signs throughout, and replaced the old heat pumps with high-efficiency models. The freezer was also
replaced with a new Energy Star labeled unit, and the ice machines were replaced as well. Thanks to
these upgrades, the hotel saves approximately $8,600 per year, and the nearly 99,000 kilowatt-hours of
electricity savings will prevent more than 123,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Arena Christian Center
In 1994, Arena Christian Center, a 40,000 square foot church, received assistance upgrading parts of its
heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system from the Sacramento Municipal Utility
District. The district helped the center replace its old air conditioning units with 12 new Energy Star
labeled units. The upgrade was funded through the prescriptive lighting program at the district, which
was introduced in response to the California energy crisis, and is funded by the California Energy
Commission. Thanks to these programs, Arena Christian Center has cut lighting cost 25 percent, and is
saving 10 percent on its heating and cooling energy use. This translates to approximately 40,000
kilowatt-hours of electricity savings, and nearly 49,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions prevented
annually. Financially, Arena Christian is able to redirect nearly $5,000 each year to its other priorities.
City of San Francisco "Power Savers" Program
Power Savers, created by San Francisco Small Business Advocates and the city's Department of the
Environment, provides free energy surveys focusing on lighting and discounted energy efficiency
products and services to the city's small businesses. The California Public Utility Commission has
provided $8 million to the city for small business energy efficiency. The program targets small firms that
can cut energy cost 30-50 percent, with a positive cash-flow within 18 months.