Prestigious awards to be presented at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles
(Los Angeles, CA) – Community activists, forward-thinking elected officials, innovative researchers, sustainable businesses, cutting edge green technologies and a young eco-activist are among the honorees to be recognized today at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 12th annual Environmental Awards Ceremony held in downtown Los Angeles, Calif.
The awards, held on the EPA’s 40th anniversary help celebrate “40 Years of Environmentalism.” Since 1970, America’s environmental history has stood witness to both dramatic events and remarkable progress. For 40 years, EPA has carried out a mission to protect the air we breathe, to safeguard the water that flows through our communities and into our homes, to ban unsafe chemicals and pesticides, and to care for the land where we build neighborhoods, schools and businesses. In the last four decades, EPA’s work has benefitted every single American.
Today, new cars are 98 percent cleaner than in 1970 in terms of smog-forming pollutants. Back in 1980, American families and businesses recycled about 10 percent of trash. Today, 33 percent recycle – that’s like cutting green house gas emissions from more than 33 million automobiles.
In the Pacific Southwest, the number of hazardous waste landfills has decreased by 90 percent since 1980. In the same year, there were 19 hazardous waste incinerators in the Pacific Southwest, today there are no hazardous waste incinerators operating in the Region.
“From Arizona to California to Samoa, this year’s winners’ fight to protect our air, water and land in the face of daily environmental challenges,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These innovative green heroes prove that it is possible to make a difference and improve our environment, regardless of whether they are elected officials, business leaders, or community activists.”
EPA is joined by co-sponsors South Coast Air Quality Management District, San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District, and the Bay Area Quality Management District. Award recipients from California, Arizona, Hawaii and American Samoa are participating in a panel discussion following the awards ceremony to discuss critical environmental issues facing the Pacific Southwest.
“During the past 40 years, EPA has played an important role in helping to clean up Southern California’s smog,” said Barry R. Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “EPA’s efforts along with those by today’s honorees will help ensure continued environmental improvements in the future.”
Each year, U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest office encourages citizens in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands to nominate individuals or organizations for 12 Environmental Awards. This program offers a great opportunity to recognize individuals and groups outside of EPA who are working to protect public health and the environment. Awards are granted to scientists, teachers, journalists, citizen activists, young people, organizations, business representatives, public officials, and others committed to protecting public health and preserving our natural surroundings.
The winners of this year’s EPA Environmental Awards are:
Green Business of the Year:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is recognized for its environmental leadership in the brewing industry. Since 1980, the company has consistently implemented sustainability policies and projects that reduced the company’s environmental footprint across all of its operations. The brewery implemented a zero-waste policy — diverting 99.5 percent of its solid waste from the landfill through source reduction, recycling, and composting. Sierra Nevada has made significant investments in renewable power, which now supplies 85 percent of the company’s electricity needs. The company has reduced its water use year after year, and has also implemented an innovative water recycling program. Beyond its own operations, the brewery is working with its suppliers and partners to reduce the impact of their products. Sierra Nevada is the largest buyer of organic hops in the country, and established a “Farm with your Brewer” program to encourage small hops farmers to adopt sustainable practices. From field to bottle, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company strives to maintain a healthy balance between environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic stability.