Two environmental organizations in the 9th Congressional District have been honored with awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions were nominated for awards by Congressman Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn), and were honored by the congressman last week.
“This is a great day for the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions,” Turner said in a statement issued by his office. “These are two extremely deserving groups who do important work on behalf of our community. I was proud to have nominated them, and am even prouder that they have been recognized for their devotion to their respective causes.”
Each year in April, the EPA honors a select number of individuals and organizations in all 10 of its regions nationally.
New York’s 9th Congressional District falls into EPA Region 2 which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Turner nominated the two local groups in February citing their tireless efforts “to protect the quality and integrity of our environment.”
This year marks the first time in the last ten years a community group from the 9th District have won this prestigious award.
According to the EPA, to be selected for the award a group or individual must significantly contribute to improving environmental quality during the prior year.
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers was founded in 1998 with a mission of protecting and restoring Jamaica Bay, a salt march spanning 25,000 acres.
“Since his election, the congressman has done an outstanding job reaching out to people in the community and environmental groups around the bay to try and find out the needs of the bay and what he can do to help,” said Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers President Dan Mundy. “We certainly appreciate his efforts on the bay. I think his living on the bay contributes a lot to his firsthand awareness of how important it is. We certainly appreciate the work his office did to recognize us. This award will help us continue the work that we are doing.”
CURES is a coalition of 14 civic associations from Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Elmhurst, Woodside, Forest Hills, and Woodhaven in Queens. The organization seeks to reduce emissions from diesel based locomotives and decrease the levels of noise, noxious fumes, and air pollution from the rail yards near Maspeth and Glendale.
CURES was nominated for its efforts regarding local freight rail issues.
“CURES is honored by Congressman Turner’s nomination and this US EPA Region 2 Environmental Quality Award,” said CURES cofounder Mary Parisen. “The award acknowledges the dedication and commitment of CURES civic leaders and our partners to address environmental health and quality of life problems our communities suffer.”
She said their efforts are made necessary as the result of public policy to increase freight rail transportation without comprehensive upgrades or enough alternative transportation modes, routes, and terminals.
“We will stay committed and work in partnership to identify baseline conditions and areas of concern, increase knowledge, awareness, and participation, and resolve these problems,” she said.
Turner noted just how important civic groups and community involvement are to the quality of life in the city.
“These organizations and their members are the foundation of the political process through local activism.” Turner said. “Their winning these awards is a testament to the commitment with which they serve.”
Both groups swill receive a plaque recognizing their environmental achievement at an awards ceremony on April 27th at the EPA office in New York City.