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Two Maine Citizens Receive Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Awards

Release Date: 04/25/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 25, 2012) – Two Maine citizens from the Pine Tree State will be honored today in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presented its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2011.

The merit awards, recognizing valuable contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, are a unique way that EPA can recognize individuals and groups that are making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.

Awarded 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 nearly 100 nominations from across New England.

Awards were given in the following categories: individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization.  Each year, EPA also may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

"Congratulations to all of our 2012 Environmental Merit Award recipients. These awards are close to my heart because they acknowledge the importance of environmental stewardship, said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "As stewards, all of these recipients are making real and lasting differences in communities across our beautiful region. Whether it's finding innovative ways to safeguard our water resources or conserving the energy our communities use each day, each individual has advanced our mission to protect human health and the environment."

More information on all Environmental Merit Award Winners from this year and past years is available at:

The Environmental Merit Award Winners from Maine are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:

Jeff Emery
During Jeff’s tenure with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, he was known for his professionalism as an environmental scientist and as a leader in such collaborations as those with such national and regional organizations as EPA, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, the National Park Service as well as other jurisdictions that include Canadian Provinces, Maine Indian Tribes and other states. In his many years of service, Jeff fostered strong positive relationships that improved coordination and information exchange across monitoring networks, enabling the department to identify more accurately air quality issues and improve air quality for Maine’s citizens. Air Bureau managers have expressed great appreciation for Jeff’s initiative in the development and continuous modernization of the state’s air monitoring network. The environmental specialists he has led also have expressed an appreciation for his experience, knowledge, hard work and willingness to pitch in whenever there was a need. Jeff was known in particular for his skill in initiating quick action and innovation to solve monitoring equipment problems with minimum monitor downtime and loss of data.

Joseph E. Payne
Few people can match Joe Payne’s lifetime advocacy for clean water. In 1991, he was hired as the first employee of Friends of Casco Bay, a grassroots conservation organization in southern Maine. The community activists who started the organization in 1989 recognized his talents, and hired him as the Casco Baykeeper. Joe, a fisherman’s grandson, has been a steward and voice for Casco Bay ever since. Joe, who grew up working on the bay, is a marine scientist whose actions are guided by both a passionate love for the bay and an understanding of its physical and biological dynamics. His science-based, collaborative approach to resolving threats to the bay’s environmental health continues to be effective. He has spearheaded numerous conservation campaigns that benefit the bay and the entire Maine coast. He created an award-winning volunteer water quality monitoring program and made Casco Bay one of the most thoroughly sampled water bodies in the country. The monitoring work allowed the organization to identify and eliminate sources of fecal coliform pollution and allowed hundreds of acres of clam flats to be re-opened to harvesters. His achievements also include launching a mobile pumpout service for recreational boats, which has kept over 125,000 gallons of raw sewage out of Casco Bay. He sampled stormwater runoff for pesticides washing into the bay to support an education program to limit lawn chemicals, which is now a statewide effort, and initiated a lobster relocation project, rescuing 35,000 lobsters from the area to be dredged. He has also worked to raise awareness of the threat of coastal acidification from stormwater runoff and air deposits.

More information on EPA’s Environmental Merit Awards in New England (

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