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EPA presents Success Story Award to Earth Keepers

Release Date: 11/20/2006
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, (312) 353-8547, Superior Watershed Partnership, Carl Lindquist or Natasha Koss, (906) 228-6095

CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock recently presented a Success Story Award to Upper Michigan's Earth Keepers for environmental stewardship. Superior Watershed Partnership Director Carl Lindquist accepted on behalf of the group at the 2006 State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) awards dinner in Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 1.

Earth Keepers, a collaboration of over 150 congregations from nine different faiths, organized the collection of household hazardous waste in 30 church parking lots across the entire Upper Peninsula in April 2005 using an EPA Environmental Justice grant. The Earth Day effort collected 46 tons of herbicides, pesticides, car batteries, items containing mercury, drain cleaners, anti-freeze, and old lead- and oil-based paints and transferred it to appropriate disposal locations.

In 2006, Earth Keepers organized an electronics equipment recycling event and collected and properly disposed of more than 320 tons of e-waste materials. In the future, the group plans a mercury thermometer exchange on tribal lands, community education on pharmaceutical disposal and burn barrel hazards, and outreach to dentists on amalgam separators.

The SOLEC Success Story Awards are presented every two years to groups in government, industry, not-for-profit, non-governmental environmental groups, and First Nations and Tribes that exemplify a strong commitment to improving the environment of the Great Lakes basin. Criteria for the award include strong partnerships, broad community involvement, and demonstrated success.

Earth Keepers is one of seven award recipients for 2006. Other Michigan Success Story Award winners are the Pulp and Paper Environmental Council and the Muskegon community's Ruddiman Creek sediment cleanup organizations.

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