The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) has chosen House Speaker Hannah Pingree as the recipient of the 2010 Environmental Award for her leadership in passing bold new laws that protect the health of Maine’s people, environment, and wildlife.
The prestigious award, which will be presented at NRCM’s annual meeting on Thursday, October 21, is given to an individual or group whose actions have made a real difference at the local, regional, or state level in the protection of Maine’s environment.
“Speaker Pingree has been a true champion for Maine people and our environment, as she led efforts to pass some of Maine’s most important laws over the past decade,” says NRCM Executive Director Brownie Carson. “She has become one of Maine’s great environmental leaders.”
During her service in the Maine House of Representatives, Speaker Pingree, who steps down this year, successfully passed bills that conserve Maine lands, improve water and air quality, increase the use of clean energy, and protect the health of Maine people and our environment.
Nowhere has Pingree’s passion been more apparent than in her work reforming laws governing the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products. In 2004, as a freshman legislator, Pingree sponsored a bill to ban three of the most harmful yet widely used chemicals that have been linked to learning and developmental disabilities and cancer. Her hard work and dedication put Maine on the map as the first state to ban two of these, and the Department of Environmental Protection was required by the Legislature to carefully review the third.
In 2005, Pingree sponsored the bill that created Maine’s lead-poisoning prevention fund, another first-in-the nation, manufacturer-funded initiative that now raises nearly one million dollars each year for lead-poisoning prevention.
In 2006, Pingree volunteered to take part in Maine’s <em
In 2007, she sponsored a first-in-the-nation bill to ban the toxic chemical deca-BDE, and, on behalf of the people of Maine, Pingree fought back against a million-dollar campaign by the chemical industry and an army of lobbyists dedicated to trying to defeat the bill.
In 2008, Pingree sponsored a bill to create the nation’s first state-based chemical assessment program, which seeks to identify chemicals of high concern to children’s health and prioritize them for action. In 2010, she sponsored and led another effort to prevent deca-BDE from contaminating food and consumer products by banning its use in plastic shipping pallets.
Speaker Pingree has been an outspoken leader on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an innovative, market-based approach to curbing climate-changing emissions from power plants. Since its inception in 2008, RGGI has brought $20 million to Maine for investment in energy efficiency that reduces pollution and energy costs.
In 2009, as Speaker of the House, Rep. Pingree sponsored legislation to reform and expand Maine’s energy efficiency programs, even stepping down from the Speaker’s Rostrum to advocate on the floor for a strong bill.
She has also been a consistent voice in favor of funding for the Land for Maine’s Future program, which protects lands in all 16 counties that are of value as exceptional recreational and ecological lands, or for farming, forestry, tourism, or working waterfronts. “One only need look at Speaker Pingree’s history of success to see that she understands the need to protect Maine’s special places and qualities in order to ensure a strong Maine economy and healthy families,” says Carson.
“Speaker Pingree’s skillful advocacy has made a difference on key issues, from working to protect Maine’s treasured places to forward-looking energy policies to protections for our children’s health,” says Carson. “She has stood up to powerful special interests and built strong bi-partisan support, time and again, to get the job done for the people of Maine. She will be sorely missed in the Legislature.”
“For her passion, determination, hard work, and strong record of success for Maine people and the environment, NRCM is extremely pleased to present to Hannah Pingree a 2010 Environmental Award.”
Pingree will receive the NRCM Environmental Award Thursday, October 21, 2010, at the organization’s annual meeting, themed, “Natural Leaders.”
Following the awards presentation and brief meeting, the public is also invited to hear gubernatorial candidates share their views on the environment at a special forum hosted by NRCM and other groups, “Choosing Maine’s Next Governor: Candidate Forum on Energy, Environment, and a Sustainable Maine Economy.” This portion of the evening begins with refreshments at 6:30 p.m., with the forum itself, moderated by MPBN’s Susan Sharon, beginning at 7:30. For more information, visit www.nrcm.org.