PEC, Dominion To Recognize 5 Western PA Environmental Programs June 28

Five community programs from throughout Western Pennsylvania will share $25,000 from Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for innovation and effectiveness in making a positive impact on the Western Pennsylvania environment.
            The five programs are this year’s winners of the 2012 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, presented annually to local organizations that demonstrate leadership, effectiveness and results in making an impact on the environment.
            These five programs encompass a variety of programs in environmental conservation, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and stormwater management. They were chosen by a group of independent judges of environmental experts and PEC staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year.
            With these awards, each winner will designate a $5,000 cash prize to be used in support of a nonprofit environmental program of their choice.
            The winners are:

-- Bradford Area School District – Bradford (McKean County): A comprehensive program of conservation, pollution prevention and energy efficiency has had a dramatic impact on greening the Bradford Area School District.  This program involved students, faculty and staff in creating a green culture that has produced dramatic and measurable results in energy use throughout all four schools in the district.  A student-run “Go Green Police” and a series of “Go Green” initiatives throughout the entire school community helped reduce its electricity and natural gas usage and helped earn two Energy Star ratings.  All buses, mowers and tractors run on biodiesel fuel resulting in less noxious gas emissions at no additional cost.  And the district built its first green building to house a new student fitness center.  Contact: Sandra Romanowski, 814- 362-3841 x 2501 or send email to:

-- Giant Eagle, Inc. – Pittsburgh (Allegheny County): Giant Eagle’s “Delivering a Cleaner Future” Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) project resulted in one of Western Pennsylvania’s first publicly-accessible CNG fueling stations, located roughly five miles outside of the city of Pittsburgh. This project helped demonstrate how this region’s abundant natural gas resources could be utilized for a cleaner-burning transportation fuel an important step forward toward energy independence.  As part of this project, Giant Eagle added ten new natural gas-powered delivery trucks to its fleet, which led to a reduction of 900,000 pounds of CO2  and a fuel savings of $150,000 in just the first year of the project. And as they travel from store to store, these new vehicles will serve as an example of alternative fuel technology at work throughout the region. Contact: Dan Magrish, 412-967-4979 or send email to:

-- Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team – Windber (Somerset County): Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a major environmental problem for the coal mining communities in the 1,887 square-mile Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin.  The Stream Team was created to manage a volunteer corps to tackle this problem, collect data to monitor the operations and effectiveness of 28 AMD treatment systems, provide environmental education and conduct conservation efforts in polluted waterways. In fact, Stream Team data are used by over two dozen organizations to secure funds for the design and construction of AMD treatment systems. Over the years, the Stream Team has educated and engaged tens of thousands of residents in the Basin through media, outreach, community events, Outdoor Discovery Workshops, and classroom activities. It has also educated thousands of young people on the state of area waterways and inspired them to implement conservation practices in their homes. Contact: Melissa Reckner, 814-444-2669 or send email to:

-- Lake Erie Region Conservancy – Erie (Erie County): Since 2001, the Lake Erie Region Conservancy has led efforts to raise over $10 million to protect over 1,200 acres of open space in the Pennsylvania Lake Erie watershed that includes nearly seven miles of tributary and Lake Erie shoreline. In that time, LERC has shown a 40-1 return on investment with net assets over $1 million and only one full time staff person. These acquisitions are permanent, community assets that offer additional recreational opportunities for our region and for tourism. All of our acquisitions offer direct access to our steams and Lake Erie and provide protection to the watersheds. LERC has also become the leading non-profit advocate for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes. Contact: Tom Fuhrman, 814-566-9319 or send email to:

-- Westmoreland Conservation District – Greensburg (Westmoreland County)The Little Pucketa Creek is a nine square-mile watershed that has been developed with little to no stormwater control in mind. As a result the creek is one of the most heavily impacted waterways in Westmoreland County during wet weather and is in need of retrofit projects to mitigate these impacts. The Westmoreland Conservation District has been working with Valley High School and others in the community in addressing water quality in the creek.  To date, there has been immediate improvement to the creek and watershed area as well as increased awareness to the problem of stormwater management. Their work in this watershed is a showcase on how to utilize best management practices to address problems related to stormwater, erosion control, and flood debris retention.  Contact: Rob Cronauer, 724-837-5271.

            All entries were judged on the basis of their relevance to local environmental priorities, evidence of their impact on the environment, their approach to solving an environmental problem, and the environmental benefit of their work.
            The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards program is open to individuals and organizations that demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership and accomplishment, and made significant contributions toward improving Western Pennsylvania’s environment. 
            Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council sponsor the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards each year to encourage the community to emulate the achievements of the winning entries, thereby promoting innovative environmental efforts and enhancing the quality of life in Western Pennsylvania.
            The winners will be honored at the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards Dinner and Awards Ceremony on June 28 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel downtown.


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