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Connecticut Citizen and Business Recognized by EPA for Environmental Achievements

09/10/2019
Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1017

BOSTON – An individual and a business in Connecticut were each recognized today by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work to protect New England's environment. These environmental leaders were among 25 recipients across New England honored by EPA's New England office at the 2019 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony.

Robert Isner was recognized with an individual award for his work with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and PerkinElmer Health Sciences Inc. of Shelton was recognized in the business category for its work on behalf of the environment.

"The New England individuals, businesses, and organizations recognized today have shown dedication to the environmental and public health in their communities," said EPA New England Administrator Dennis Deziel. "We are proud to present awards to these stewards of New England's air, land and water."

EPA New England each year recognizes individuals and groups in the six New England states who are distinguished by their work to protect or improve the region's environment. The merit awards, given since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown ingenuity and commitment. The Environmental Merit Awards, given for work or actions done in the prior year, are awarded 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 presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

The 2019 Merit Award Winners from Connecticut were:

Individual

Robert Isner
Hartford, Connecticut

Robert Isner has worked for more than 25 years at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, where he is now director of the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division. Isner's innovative solutions have made the state's waste program a leader nationally. About five years ago, EPA approached the department regarding hazardous waste facilities that needed an initial control to address immediate health risks. Seeing an opportunity, Isner pulled together a team from both his own division and the remediation division to partner with EPA to address these sites. Isner's division volunteered to spearhead this challenge and develop a strategic plan. Over the next five years, the majority of sites on the list have been resolved. Isner's quiet, but effective leadership style provided his staff the flexibility to be creative. Under Isner's direction, the department's waste program has shown innovation in settlements and policies to improve compliance. It has incorporated high-quality on-line training for the regulated community. DEEP has been innovative in writing settlements that include future compliance plans and third-party audits. One notable case, involving a national retail pharmacy chain, had a national impact on compliance in the regulated community. Isner's work with the Connecticut Hazardous Waste Advisory is a forum for information sharing between the department and regulated community. Isner is tenacious in his pursuit of transparent, effective and efficient government. He has dedicated his career to fair and reasonable environmental compliance.

Business

PerkinElmer Health Sciences Inc.
Shelton, Connecticut

PerkinElmer, which designs and manufactures lab equipment, makes its products in a way that minimizes adverse health and environmental impacts throughout a product's life-cycle. Its instruments have helped identify trace levels of lead and other materials in water, detect toxic air conditions, and screen soil to identify volatile organic compounds. The instruments are designed to consume fewer resources, and the company has removed hazardous substances, such as mercury, from all its products. For the past three years, employees have participated in an Earth Day household hazardous waste collection, bringing in more than 20,000 pounds of waste. In the last three years, employees also spread 181 wheelbarrows of mulch at the Beardsley Zoo, removed 2,000 pounds of trash and 25 contractor bags of plastic bottles from the Naugatuck River, replanted 2,000 strawberry plants at Massaro Community Farm, and dug 2,160 square feet of garden beds. Through recycling, PerkinElmer has diverted 4,957 pounds of nitrile gloves and disposable garments from landfills. The Shelton, Connecticut facility has limited it its carbon footprint through upgrades that include a new high efficiency cooling tower, lighting upgrades to LED, upgrading boilers to an efficient natural gas system and removing four 20,000-gallon oil tanks. The company also built a telepresence conference center to eliminate unnecessary travel. PerkinElmer works to improve human and environmental health around the world.

In addition to these winners, Robert Klee, commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from January 2014 to December 2018, was given the Ira Leighton "In Service to States" annual award for environmental achievement that has had an outsized impact in the state, the region, and nationally.

This year's Environmental Awards Ceremony was dedicated to the memory of Douglas M. Costle, who served as administrator for EPA from 1977 to 1981 and was among the driving forces in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA also announced that The Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition in Springfield would be honored for its role in children's health. Established in 2006, the coalition works to improve the lives of families, individuals, and communities affected by asthma in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

More information on EPA's Environmental Merit Awards, including photographs from the award ceremony: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-merit-awards-new-england