Senior staff from the governor’s office and from Maine DEP, representatives from each of the winning organizations, members of the Board of Environmental Protection and the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and leaders from Maine’s environment and business community attended the awards ceremony.
Recipients were recognized for voluntarily going beyond regulatory requirements for innovation in environmental sustainability.
Commissioner Aho said it was important for the state to acknowledge Maine’s many environmental leaders who are modeling her department’s vision of a mutually healthy environment and economy.
“Maine has long been a national leader when it comes to environmental excellence and our 2013 Governor’s Awards recipients are carrying on that legacy,” Aho said in a press release. “As Maine’s foremost environmental organization, it has great meaning when we respect and recognize these leaders and that the innovation improving our environment and our economy comes directly from Maine employers and people, understanding that a healthy environment and a strong economy support one another and where stewardship of our natural resources ensures a vibrant economy.”
Edwards-United Technologies, known for their production of life safety devices, based in Pittsfield, won in the “Businesses Over 100 Employees” category for its efforts in reducing annual water usage from 13 million gallons to 1.2 million gallons; installing a closed-loop system for their paint line; reducing propane usage by 28 percent; replacing chemicals with less harmful alternatives, including reduction of 37 tons per year of VOC emissions, 6.5 tons per year of hazardous waste, and incorporating recycling, waste reduction for a decrease in waste of 40 percent and achieving a 91 percent recycle rate.
The Meadowmere Resort, a family-run business for 30 years located in Ogunquit, won in the “Businesses with 20-99 Employees” category. The Meadowmere is one of the first DEP-certified environmental leaders recognized for installing a 48-panel solar hot water system which at peak provides 70 percent of its energy needed (this project also created one full-time staff position in order to manage the system). The Meadowmere also has implemented property-wide recycling and no longer has trash bins at the front desk because only recyclables are produced.
Agri-Energy of Exeter won in the “Businesses With Less than 19 Employees” category. Agri-Energy is recognized for incorporating a 1 megawatt anaerobic digestion system at Stonyvale Farm to treat 150 wet tons of 75 percent cow manure daily produced by 1,000 dairy cows and 25 percent food waste. This $6 million construction project, started in 2011, has created 24 full-time construction jobs and three permanent jobs while converting into energy 7.3 million gallons of cow manure that otherwise would have washed into nearby waters. Agri-Energy’s process has the methane destruction equivalent to taking 3,000 cars off the road all while producing 5.2 million kilowatt hours for the grid and greatly reducing odors in the community. By accepting food waste from other Maine institutions including hospitals and schools, Agri-Energy has succeeded in reducing demand on Maine’s landfills.
Cary Medical Center of Caribou won in the “Not-For-Profit” category. Cary is recognized for launching the Cary Medical Center Safe Sharps Disposal Program with a vision to provide community options for disposal of household medical sharps; especially critical given The County has one of Maine’s highest rates of diabetes. In 2012, a total of 86 boxes or 4,300 pounds of community medical sharps had been collected at six partnering community sites. Cary’s program was inspiration for DEP’s own sharps education campaign in 2012.
Aho indicated the awards program is one of the many activities the DEP has advanced under the LePage administration that further the agency’s culture of cooperation with the regulated community. Others include expanded technical assistance, permitting process improvements and pragmatic regulatory reform.
Based on the success of the awards, Maine DEP intends to continue the annual recognition program, with nominations for the 2014 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence opening in late 2013. More information can be found at http://www.maine.gov/dep or by contacting Chris Swain at 207-287-7811 or