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Vermonters Receive Earth Day Honors with Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Award

Release Date: 04/17/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 17, 2007) – Three Vermont citizens, plus a well-known group working in the Green Mountain State will be honored on Wednesday, April 18 in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presents its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2007.

The merit awards, recognizing significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, include a top honor for one Vermont career civil servant - a lifetime achievement award. EPA is also recognizing two other individuals and one group for making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.

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 54 nominations from across New England.

“Our Environmental Merit 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. “I offer my gratitude to these citizens for their extraordinary contributions in protecting our shared environment. Their work reflects the best attributes of New Englanders, working to find solutions to tough environmental issues.”

The Vermont Environmental Merit Award winners were among 29 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 Vermont are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:

Canute E. Dalmasse

After 36 years of diligently protecting Vermont’s environment, Canute Dalmasse is retiring later this month as the Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. As the number two environmental official in the State of Vermont since 2001, Canute has done a spectacular job holding together Vermont’s great legacy of progressive environmental work through considerable fiscal and regulatory turbulence. Canute rose through the ranks of the Vermont environmental agency, distinguishing himself at each step by able environmental stewardship and staff management skills. Some of his recent accomplishments include management of Vermont’s Clean and Clear program, which is accelerating water quality improvements statewide, and his leadership role in the Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog restoration programs.

Individual Environmental Merit Award:

Candace Page
Editor and Environmental Writer, Burlington Free Press

Through her extensive newspaper coverage and fine reporting, Candace Page significantly increased public awareness of the environmental issues facing Lake Champlain while touting the valuable work and effectiveness of the Lake Champlain Basin Program – a non-profit regional program that coordinates and funds efforts which benefit the Basin's water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources. Candace published six front-page feature stories in 2006 about the Lake Champlain Basin in The Burlington Free Press, Vermont’s largest daily paper with a Sunday circulation of about 50,000. The six feature stories on Lake Champlain provided more coverage of environmental issues than any non-profit organization could afford and brought to light the environmental problems plaguing the Lake Champlain Basin such as farm runoff, urban storm water pollution and other concerns. Her articles were broadly researched and included the economic and political implications surrounding development in the Basin. Through Candace’s superb environmental reporting, there is a greater awareness among the people of Vermont about the plight of environmental issues surrounding Lake Champlain and Candace has increased the likelihood of garnering necessary support to address these important issues.

Jay Rutherford
Director, Vermont Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Water Supply Division

Jay Rutherford has been a dedicated partner to EPA New England for over 15 years, as the head of the Vermont Department of Environmental Protection’s, Drinking Water Program. Not only has his leadership been successful in the state of Vermont, but he has been recognized nationally for his contribution in many drinking water groups, including serving as President of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA). Jay has been especially effective in working towards improving public health and championing innovative solutions for the 1,340 drinking water systems in Vermont that serve less then 3,300 people. These small systems are especially vulnerable because they have very limited resources for treatment, operation and maintenance. Jay’s work helped the State achieve a rate of over 90% of “population protected and receiving safe, affordable drinking water to their customers.” Jay also placed emphasis on the importance of incorporating security education on vulnerabilities, asset management, and emergency planning in light of homeland security precautions needed after 9/11. Jay continues to display his leadership as an environmental steward though his commitment to non-regulatory source water protection and by finding innovative solutions to help protect our drinking water and public health.

Environmental, Community, Academia, and Non-Profit Organizations:

Shelburne Farms and the Vermont Forum on Sprawl

Shelburne Farms and the Vermont Forum on Sprawl’s Sustainable Schools Project set out to address the problems of childhood obesity, rampant sprawl and the decline of urban centers by developing an innovative and easy-to-use Healthy Neighborhoods/Healthy Kids Teacher’s Guide. The Teacher’s Guide was developed to help teachers across the country adopt a new approach to help get children involved in solving problems associated with sprawl and childhood obesity by advocating for neighborhoods that are greener, more walkable and more conducive to physical activity. Children are asked through this project to grade their own neighborhoods and to suggest means of making the neighborhood greener and more environmentally friendly. Through this program, children receive lessons on civic engagement, such as how to write persuasive letters and how to make effective presentations—skills that will stay with them for a lifetime.

More information: Environmental Merit Awards (

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