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EPA Presents Environmental Merit Awards to 6 in New Hampshire

Release Date: 04/18/2001
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON – Six individuals and organizations from New Hampshire were honored today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their contributions to the environment.

The New Hampshire winners were among 33 recipients from around New England that received Environmental Merit Awards at an Earth Day ceremony at Faneuil Hall. The awards, given out since 1970, 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.

"The individuals and groups we are honoring today are New England's real environmental heroes," said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator for EPA New England. "Often with little fanfare, they have invested huge amounts of their time to make New England's environmental cleaner and safer for future generations. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude."

U.S. Rep. John Joseph Moakley of Massachusetts received a "special recognition award" for his strong commitment to environmental protection, both nationally and in New England. Nationally, Moakley has consistently had high scores for legislative votes on the environment. His efforts also helped ensure federal funding for the cleanup of Boston Harbor.

EPA New England also gave the late Donella Meadows of Hartland Four Corners, Vt, a special recognition award for being one of the great environmental authors and leaders of our day. Meadows, who taught at Dartmouth College and died this year, in 1972 co-authored "The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind," a publication based on computer modeling that concluded the earth would reach its limits of growth within 100 years. More recently she co-authored a book that pointed the way to a more sustainable future called "Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future."

The winners of merit awards from New Hampshire were:

Cyndy Carlson of Manchester
Cyndy Carlson, a consultant at Camp Dresser and McKee, has played a critical role in coordinating a half-dozen environmental projects being done by the city of Manchester under a unique agreement with EPA regarding combined sewer overflow pollution problems. The projects Cyndy oversees involve everything from stormwater controls to reducing lead poisoning and asthma to environmental education. In her role as project coordinator, Cyndy ably keeps track of the environmental results and organizes monthly meetings. She goes above and beyond her job responsibilities on her own time, surveying stream banks, serving on the city's Conservation Commission, taking groundwater samples for the Nature Conservancy, stenciling storm drains with students and pitching in to help restore the local Stevens Pond. Cyndy Carlson's environmental contributions as a professional and a member of the community are exemplary.

Citizens for N.H. Land and Community Heritage in Concord
In 1998, a study showed that five of the top 10 environmental risks in New Hampshire were related to development and degradation of land. The study also showed that the state was losing 13,000 acres a year to development and had no program in place to protect critical lands. For the past two years, the Citizens for N.H. Land and Community Heritage, a grassroots coalition of 135 businesses, municipalities and historic organizations, has toiled to build support for a new, permanent state program to provide a source for matching funds to preserve land and historic buildings. Last June, that goal was realized when Governor Shaheen signed legislation creating the New Hampshire Community Heritage Investment Program and provided it with $3 million. The program provides up to 50 percent of the cost of a land conservation or historic restoration project. This past February, 99 communities submitted 124 projects for preservation, totaling $19.3 million. Few actions can have more of a lasting impact on the environment than permanently conserving land and historic structures. This program will be seen by future generations as an investment worth far more than anyone can imagine now.

Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program in Boscawen
Hundreds of volunteers have participated in the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program -- which monitors water quality in the Pemigewasset, Winnipesaukee, Contoocook and Upper Merrimack Rivers – since 1995. It is one of the most ambitious programs of its kind in New England. River conservationists, municipal officials, anglers, teachers, students and many others participate in collecting water samples and benthic macroinvertebrate specimens, analyzing macroinvertebrates and performing other field tasks. The monitoring program has received numerous grants, as well as support from municipalities, through innovative programs such as "Adopt-a-River-Site," a program where corporations and other groups take on specific river monitoring sites. Providing critical leadership in training the volunteers are program coordinator Michele Tremblay and sampling supervisor Steve Landry.

N.H. DES & N.H. Marine Trades Association
The N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the N.H. Marine Trades Association are being recognized for the state's "Clean Marine Initiative" aimed at reducing pollution from motorboat outboard engines. Most two-stroke outboard engines release both significant amounts of air pollution as well as oil and fuel into the water. According to some studies, as much as 30 percent of the fuel used by older two-stroke engines passes through the engine unburned and directly into the environment. New low-pollution engines are being introduced (in part under EPA mandate), but only gradually. In an effort to achieve quicker environmental improvements, DES asked marine engine dealers in the state (represented by the Marine Trades Association) to voluntarily promote sales of cleaner engines. Twenty-one dealers signed an agreement setting high goals for sales of low pollution engines – half of all engines sold in 2000 and more than 90 percent by 2003. Early results show these goals being exceeded, meaning more clean engines in the state and much cleaner air and water. The state is also spearheading an effort to apply this campaign regionally across New England.

N.H. DES Mercury Reduction Initiative
The N.H. Department of Environmental Services' Mercury Reduction Initiative has shown innovation, leadership and bottom-line results in reducing mercury pollution across the Granite State. Launched in fall 1998, the team set an ambitious goal of cutting statewide mercury emissions in half by 2003 and to virtually eliminate emissions over time. Among the dozens of programs for achieving that goal were passage of a state law banning or limiting mercury-containing products, strict mercury limits on municipal and medical waste incinerators, a comprehensive campaign with the N.H. Hospital Association to reduce medical use of mercury, and a strong public education program on the problems of mercury pollution. In less than three years, the team has already achieved a 37 percent reduction in in-state emissions and it fully expects to achieve its 50 percent goal by 2003.

David Switzer & Plymouth, N.H. Conservation Commission
David Switzer has led an enthusiastic and effective Plymouth Conservation Commission in gaining significant preservation victories over the last 13 years. The all-volunteer commission brought together buyers, sellers, donors, non-profit organizations, the state of New Hampshire, and the town of Plymouth to create conservation easements for 1,000-acre Plymouth Mountain, the 163-acre Walter/Newton Natural Area – a wildlife sanctuary that is being enhanced with assistance from the Plymouth State College Outing Club – and the 100-acre Bertha Fauver property. These areas at the entrance to the White Mountains National Forest will now be forever protected, providing a valuable resource for both residents and millions of visitors. Other members of the commission include Gisela Estes, Lea Stewart, Robert Pike, Lee Webster, Paul Richelson, Jim Lurie, Paul Freitas, James Mayhew and Neil McIver. To all of them, we owe a debt of gratitude.