2012-02-10 / Community

Turner Nominates Ecowatchers For EPA Award

Congressman Bob Turner announced that he has sent letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to nominate two local community groups, the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES), for a 2012 Environmental Quality Award.

“These two organizations work tirelessly to protect the quality and integrity of our environment. It is important that they be recognized for their hard work and I am honored to nominate them,” Turner said.

Since its inception in 1998, the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have stood firm in their mission to protect and restore Jamaica Bay, a salt marsh covering 25,000 acres.

“Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have led the charge and taken the lead on so many projects to protect our local marshland. They have documented nitrogen loading, algae blooms, and marsh loss; raised public awareness of the possible disappearance of all marshland from the bay by 2020; and worked to prevent City owned wetlands from being auctioned off for development,” Turner said. “Organizations such as Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers work to preserve the natural beauty of our great city and for that they should be recognized.”

Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers was honored by the nomination and the efforts of Congressman Turner on behalf of local environmental issues.

“As president of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, I was pleased to learn that Congressman Turner has nominated this organization for an EPA 2012 Environmental Quality Award,” organization president Dan Mundy, Sr. said. “The members of this organization have worked tirelessly to advocate for the treasured natural resource that is Jamaica Bay. It is very rewarding to have this type of recognition afforded to our efforts, and it will certainly help to highlight and advance our future efforts to protect this unique and wonderful ecological jewel.

We not only appreciate this action on Congressman Turner’s part, but all of the efforts and attention that his office has directed towards Jamaica Bay, its issues, and restoration efforts since coming to office. ”

The Congressman also nominated Civics United for Railroad Environment Solutions (CURES), which is a coalition of 14 civic associations from Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Elmhurst, Woodside, Forest Hills, and Woodhaven in Queens. Turner cited CURES’ work to reduce emissions from diesel based locomotives; ensure that rail yards are free of hazards and threats to neighborhood health and safety; its work to raise awareness about the expanded railroad operations pushing operations into residential areas of the rail yard at Fresh Pond Terminal due to the terminal’s current size; and efforts to decrease the levels of noise, noxious fumes, and air pollution.

“Coalitions such as CURES are an example of effective community involvement at its finest. There is nothing more important in the political process than local residents and leaders coming together for a common cause to send a larger message. Mary Arnold and Mary Parisen, and all CURES members, should be proud of the work they have done, and I am honored to nominate CURES for this award. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.” Turner said.

Mary Parisen, co-chair and cofounder of CURES said, “Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions is honored that the work of our civic coalition has been nominated for a US EPA Environmental Quality award by Congressman Turner. For more than two decades civic leaders from the Queens Community Board 5 area have been asking for safer and cleaner freight rail. We sincerely hope this nomination means the time has finally come for state-of-the-art noise and diesel emissions reduction technology. New technology will bring cleaner air, a healthier environment, and better quality of life to communities that must live with the expansion of freight rail in NYC.”

These yearly awards are given out in commemoration of Earth Day and seek to honor individuals or groups whose efforts over the course of the year have benefited public health and the environment.

Winners will be honored at a ceremony in April at the EPA office in lower Manhattan.

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