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Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission Announce 10th Annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards Award Is Highest Level of Recognition Given By Agency

Submitted by: Texas Natural Resource conservation Commission

Categories: Environment

Posted: Mar 31, 2002 – 11:00 PM EST

 

Mar. 31 /CSRwire/ - AUSTIN, Texas- Texas Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) today announced the winners of the 10th annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards (TEEA), recognizing individuals, organizations, schools and businesses that have created successful programs to preserve and protect the Texas environment. The winners -- including a high school student who initiated a paper-recycling program in her rural community, a large corporation that developed a cutting- edge method for producing safer gasoline, a council of governments that has taught more than 84,000 people about environmentally-sensitive gardening, among others -- all have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of the land, air and water in Texas.

"Texas is making great strides in achieving cleaner air, land and water thanks to strong new laws and good corporate citizenship," said Governor Rick Perry. "The Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards recognize those proud Texans who are going the extra mile to conserve our natural resources for our children and grandchildren."

Presented every spring in a variety of categories, the awards were started by the Texas Legislature in 1993 to honor the state's most outstanding waste reduction and pollution prevention projects. Winners will be recognized at the TEEA awards banquet Tuesday, May 7, 2002, at the Austin Convention Center.

2002 Texas Environmental Excellence Award winners include:

- BP American Production Company, Amarillo, Texas

Category-Large Business/Technical

BP, an industry leader in reducing greenhouse gases, has invested an enormous amount of time and nearly $2 million implementing three innovative technologies at oil and gas production and distribution operations in Texas to answer the challenge of worldwide climate change. BP took the initiative to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air by the equivalent of approximately 435,200 tons of carbon dioxide per year. While accomplishing this, BP avoided the yearly emission of nearly 9,000 tons of VOCs and kept over 1 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas in their pipelines.

- Condit Kids for Clean Air - Condit Elementary School, Bellaire, Texas

Category-Youth Organization

Condit Kids for Clean Air, a student group comprised of 250 4th and 5th grade students, gives members hands-on experience running a manual ozone flag monitoring system. After two months in the program, members showed an increased understanding of the adverse health effects of ozone, safe levels of ozone, how ozone is formed, and how to reduce pollution that causes depletion of the ozone layer, among other things. As a second step in the project, each student shared his or her knowledge of ozone with an adult member of the community. The result was a ripple effect that statistically increased the community's awareness of ozone pollution. This project is a model for other schools across the state.

- Edwards Plateau Prescribed Burning Association, Inc. (EPPBA), Sonora, Texas

Category-Agriculture

The EPPBA, which started as a county-level organization to help ranchers apply prescribed fire to the land, has grown tremendously in just three years to a multi-county organization with more than 90 members owning 500,000 acres of land. In an effort to restore the Edwards Plateau rangelands to pristine condition, the EPPBA has conducted more than 40 prescribed burns on approximately 25,000 acres. By restoring the controlled use of fire -- a natural ecological process -- to this area, the group has cut costs while improving the state of the rangelands, increasing the quality and quantity of water available for Edwards Aquifer recharge, and fostering an appreciation of natural resources. Community leaders throughout Texas and Oklahoma have followed the EPPBA's lead, forming prescribed burning associations in their areas.

- Hillwood Development, Halff Associates, Inc., HBC/Terracon, Inc., Hughes & Luce, and the City of Dallas, Dallas, Texas

Category-Large Business/Nontechnical

This team worked together in a unique private-public partnership to renovate a 72-acre industrial site north of downtown Dallas into Victory Development, home of the American Airlines Center. Located on a former historical industrial area, the site was plagued with environmental challenges, including the historic filling of the area with solid waste; contaminated soil and groundwater; and the use of a grain elevator, which lead to pesticide-impacted construction debris. The participating groups overcame these challenges while making environmental responsibility a top priority-reusing soil on site to limit off-site disposal; importing clean backfill material; and treating, managing and reusing 15 million gallons of impacted groundwater. This development serves as a blueprint for other brownfield development projects across the country.

- Kaufman County Solid Waste Management Cooperative, Inc., Kaufman, Texas

Category-Civic/Nonprofit

This project began in 1997 when a 20-year local solid waste management plan was completed. Currently being implemented, the project aims to educate citizens about recycling, composting, household hazardous waste, source reduction, nonpoint source pollution, eco-shopping, yard waste management, litter and illegal dumping and bring related services to the area. Kaufman County's plan is extremely unique in that it created a nonprofit organization, the Solid Waste Cooperative, to manage it. This project is seen as a model for solid waste management, at a state and regional level, especially in small, rural counties.

- McAllen International Museum, McAllen, Texas

Category-Education

The museum created a mobile, interactive, bilingual exhibition -- "Our Watershed" -- with nine stations exploring the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River. As part of its major public awareness campaign, the museum has toured the display to a number of rural and urban U.S. border communities, including Harlingen, Mercedes, Mission, Roma and Weslaco, in addition to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The goal of the project is to increase understanding in the community about the need for water conservation, pollution prevention, and how the river shapes geography and influences local economic and cultural development. In the first 16 months, more than 60,350 people from the community visited the exhibit including 30 schools in the U.S. and 30 schools in Mexico.

- North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), North Texas

Category-Government

In a collaborative and innovative effort to prevent pollution, more than 54 cities, counties and others worked together to initiate the Texas SmartScape interactive CD-ROM. Spearheaded by the NCTCOG environmental staff, this unique communications tool teaches environmentally-responsible landscaping through the use of native and adapted plants, which require little or no pesticides and little water to thrive. Since the CD-ROM was released in May 2001, the response has been dramatic. To date, more than 84,000 CD's featuring photographs, artwork, music, environmental information, landscaping techniques, and a searchable database to stress the importance of pollution prevention and water conservation in the North Texas area have been ordered.

- Phillips Petroleum Company-Borger Refinery and NGL Center, Borger, Texas

Category-Innovative Technology

The first commercial SZorb unit in the world started operations in April 2001, at the Borger Refinery in the Texas Panhandle. The SZorb sulfur removal technology succeeds in significantly reducing the sulfur concentration in typical refinery streams-resulting in cleaner burning engines, greatly reduced emissions from tailpipes and fewer smog-related illnesses. While past technology used to remove sulfur from typical refinery streams resulted in a significant loss of octane value, the end result of the SZorb sulfur removal technology is a gasoline stream that is still octane-rich.

- Stefanie K. Lacy, Bandera, Texas

Category-Individual

Stefanie, a high school student, was concerned because her community, Bandera County, did not have a recycling program. She took matters into her own hands, initiating a paper recycling program. To begin, she convinced a recycling company in San Antonio (70 miles away) to lend the county a recycling bin and make the long drive to pick it up. Stefanie then enlisted the support of schools, businesses, and citizens of Bandera County to participate. Her efforts have been met with tremendous success; the recycling program is expected to collect 120 tons of paper this year. Stefanie is the first teenager to win an individual Texas Environmental Excellence Award.

- Texas Landfill Management, L.L.C., Austin and San Antonio, Texas

Category-Small Business

This company's two composting divisions, Garden-Ville and Texas Organic Products, annually recycle roughly 122,000 tons of waste materials into compost, mulch and amended soils. With this innovative program, more than 50 organic products are created and marketed throughout the state using materials that were historically sent to the state's landfills. A key benefit of composting is that the end products reduce the need for traditional lawn and garden products such as chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and reduce the need for frequent watering.

- Dr. David T. Allen, Austin, Texas

Category-Special Award

Dr. Allen played a lead role in developing, managing, and analyzing the Texas Air Quality Study -- the largest air quality study ever conducted in Texas. Designed to improve the community's understanding of the chemical and physical processes that cause air pollution along the Gulf Coast, the study is expected to significantly impact the state's plan for improving air quality in Southeast Texas over the next decade. A massive undertaking, this study required the cooperation of federal and state agencies, Texas universities, local governments, companies, trade organizations and environmental groups. Coordination of these parties was achieved through the tireless efforts of Dr. Allen. An active participant in the formation of environmental public policy, Dr. Allen is chair of the Texas Council on Environmental Technology. Created by Senate Bill 5 during the last legislative session, the goal of the council is to evaluate technologies that can be deployed to help improve air quality.

- The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Category-Special Award

The University is being recognized for two projects:

South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) An ongoing medical training and community service program, STEER teaches health care professionals, including medical residents and students, as well as public health and nursing students, about environmental medicine. Through one-month service projects in the colonias in South Texas, participants learn about environmental health topics through hands-on experience, but, more importantly, they also give much-needed medical attention to the impoverished residents of these border towns, many of whom live without running water and electricity.

Comprehensive Dental Mercury Waste Minimization Initiative Dentists commonly use mercury-containing amalgam as a filling material in teeth because it is versatile, inexpensive, and easy to use. When fillings are replaced, mercury is often released into the environment, often contaminating wastewater. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio initiated a program to capture and recycle this mercury-bearing waste. In addition, the school established the first comprehensive program to educate current and future dentists, as well as the general public, regarding the hazards of mercury in the environment.

For more information about the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards or to learn how to apply for the 2003 awards, please visit www.teea.org . To inquire about tickets for the awards event on May 7, please contact Dana Macomb at 512-239-4745 or dmacomb@tnrcc.state.tx.us .

For more information, please contact:

Kristin Steimel Christian-Hubble Media & Communications
Phone: (512) 472-9599
Phone: (512) 239-5000

 

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