2012 Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence
Governor Paul LePage speaks at the 2012 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, held at Jotul North America’s headquarters in Gorham
Governor Paul LePage honored six stewards of sustainability on April 19, 2012 with the first state-sponsored environmental achievement awards handed out in Maine since 2005.
The Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, were presented by Governor LePage and Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho in a ceremony at Jotul North America’s headquarters in Gorham.
Recipients were recognized for voluntarily going beyond regulatory requirements to creatively and collaboratively initiate innovation that was both environmentally and economically sustainable.
More than 100 people –including senior staff from the Governor’s Office and Maine DEP, representatives of each of the winning organizations and many of the nominated entities, members of the Board of Environmental Protection and Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and leaders in Maine’s environment and business community attended the awards, which were scheduled in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22) commemorations around the state this week.
“For many Maine employers, Earth Day isn’t just one day a year, but a constant commitment to stewarding our natural resources and ensuring a sustainable economy. These Governor’s Award winners illustrate the interdependence of Maine’s economy and the environment and why the choice between the two should never be ‘either or’ because it must always be ‘both,’” said Governor LePage at the awards.
IDEXX, of Westbrook, won in the “Businesses Over 100 Employees” category for committing to considering sustainability in every business decision the company has made since 2008. As a result, their operating costs per square foot are lower than they were five years ago through energy conservation, less than 6 percent of their waste ends up in landfills and their employees have grown hundreds of pounds of produce through a campus gardening program, all of which is donated to local food pantries.
Governor Paul LePage, CLYNK’s CEO Clayton King, Vice President of Retail Operations Andy Mayo and Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho
CLYNK, based in South Portland, won in the “Businesses Over 50 Employees” category for their efforts in effectively engaging thousands of Mainers in returning nearly 300 million containers since 2006. Earlier this year, the company released a new service that allows its account holders to track in real time the environmental benefits that result directly from the specific beverage containers they recycle at the nearly 50 partnering Hannaford supermarkets.
George R. Roberts Company, known as “The Step Guys” and located in Alfred, won in the “Business Over 15 Employees” category. A leading manufacturer of precast concrete products –including steps, in 2010 the company switched on the largest solar array in the state, which now provides 90 percent of their power. To date, the 638 U.S. made panels have produced 244,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 130,000 light bulbs each year and accounting for a 10,000 ton annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Maine Energy Systems, of Bethel, won in the “Business Under 15 Employees” category for helping Maine homes, public facilities and businesses –including Waterville High School and Mt. Abram Ski Resort– transition to a cleaner fuel, sustainability-harvested from Maine’s forests with the sales of their wood pellets and boilers. This conversion can lower fuel costs for users by about half, while helping to retain and create jobs in Maine’s vibrant forest products industry.
Governor Paul LePage, WCCOG General Assembly President and Washington County Manager Betsy Fitzgerald, WCCOG Environmental Consultant Todd Coffin of GEI Consultants, Inc. and Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho
The Washington County Council of Governments won in the “Public Sector” category for its county-wide Brownfields program, which has helped restore environmental vitality to abandoned sites in a region greatly dependent on the health of its natural resources. Through these coordinated efforts over the past three years, environmental assessments have been conducted at 11 sites and there has been redevelopment of five sites, including a former cannery now being used for regional storage by local lobstermen and a former boat building school being overhauled into a shop for construction of tidal power generation units. In total, redevelopment projects presently underway have the potential to create up to 50 new full-time jobs and increase property value by over $4 million.
The Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students Project, a partnership between the Chewonki Outdoor Classroom for Schools, Ferry Beach Ecology School and the UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond and at Tanglewood (in Lincolnville), won in the “Nonprofit” category. Launched in 2011, the collaborative creates a financial aid fund that has already subsidized residential environmental education for nearly 2,000 Maine students. Through the fund, schools are able to apply for grants to send their students to any of the four partnering organizations for experiential environmental learning programs that last up to five days, with aid scaled from 25 to 95 percent based on the number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program in the applicant school.
Based on the success of this year’s awards, Maine DEP intends to continue the annual recognition program, with nominations for the 2013 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence opening in late 2012
For more information, contact:Samantha DePoy-Warren, (207) 287-5842