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Sustainable CT of Willimantic Recognized by EPA with Regional Environmental Award

09/15/2020
Contact Information: 
John Senn (senn.john@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1019

BOSTON – An organization based in Connecticut was recognized today by the US Environmental Protection Agency for its work to protect New England's environment. The group was among 24 recipients across New England honored by EPA’s New England office at the 2020 Environmental Merit Awards virtual ceremony.

EPA New England’s annual Environmental Merit Awards are given to community leaders, scientists, government officials, business leaders, schools, and students who represent different approaches, but a common commitment to environmental protection. Sustainable CT of Willimantic was given an award in the category for non-profit organizations.

"Initiatives led by groups like Sustainable CT have driven progress toward clean water and clean air, built community support for revitalization investments, sparked environmental innovation, reduced waste, and protected the public from exposure to harmful substances," said EPA New England Administrator Dennis Deziel. "EPA is always proud to recognize the honorees’ dedication, commitment to partnerships, and passion for success that has led to measurable change." Deziel noted that this year’s award celebration – an online video presentation - by necessity differed from past years, but reaffirmed the awards ceremony is more important than ever.

"This award is very much deserved," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said. "Sustainable CT by its very design reflects the all-in commitment required to make significant movement on solving the climate crisis. Meaningful change won’t come from federal and state action alone, it has to include local governments and community leaders, and committed individual action too-everyone pulling in the same direction together. Sustainable CT’s hard work over the last three years of its existence is evident, with so many of the state’s municipalities committing to the work of becoming sustainable communities, and many achieving certification as Certified Sustainable Communities."

Sustainable CT, under the leadership of executive director Lynn Stoddard, has pioneered a state-wide program that supports efforts by municipalities to improve the quality of life in their communities. The organization works with government representatives and community volunteers to protect the state’s resources.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University led development of the program, which involves a voluntary certification program recognizing Connecticut municipalities who meet a range of criteria meant to help them become more sustainable. So far, 94 communities - just over half the towns and cities in the state - are involved. Sustainable CT communities build community and local economies, equitably promote the health and well-being of current and future residents and they respect the finite capability of the natural environment.

In addition to these Merit Award winners, Ronald Poltak of New Hampshire, 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. The award recognized Poltak for his work at the helm of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission for 37 years until his retirement in 2017.

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.

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