Your Cart

New Hampshire Organizations and Residents Recognized by EPA for Environmental Achievements


Five winners in New Hampshire were recognized at EPA’s 2015 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony. The environmental leaders were among 27 recipients across New England honored for helping to improve New England’s envi­ronment.
Each year EPA New England recognizes individuals and groups in the six New England states who have worked to protect or improve the region’s environment in distinct ways. The merit awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts.
“New England is rich with people who understand the importance of preserving the environment, but the citizens we are recognizing today went above and beyond in working as stewards of our air, land and water,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “In addition to iconic natural beauty and vibrant communities, we New Englanders are fortunate to have neighbors who care deeply about the environment we  share.”
The Environmental Merit Awards, which are given to people who have already taken action, are awarded in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals. The Environmental Merit Award Winners from New Hampshire listed by category are:
Lifetime Achievement
The Team of Jeff Kantor and Bob Phelps (posthumous), Auto & Truck Recyclers Association of New Hampshire
Jeff Kantor (Car World) and Bob Phelps (Central Auto Recyclers) were instrumental in assisting NHDES in establishing the award-winning Green Yards Pro­ gram, which promotes and recognizes environmental excellence among auto recycling yards. They educated their peers on the advantages of running a facility that implements environmentally sound and sustainable business practices. Kantor is currently an environmental consultant for LKQ Car World in Candia, NH and has served on many governmental committees. Phelps served as the regional director at-large and a global ambassador for the Automotive Recyclers Association. Phelps passed away in 2014.  As individuals, Kantor and Phelps demonstrated a commitment to promoting good environmental business practices within the auto recycling industry, and as a team they were a powerhouse dedicated to fostering and encouraging a collaborative working relationship between the auto recycling industry and all levels of government. These two men worked tirelessly with the NH Legislature and the United States Congress to promote legislation reflecting the modernization of the auto recycling industry and its importance to our nation.  Kantor and Phelps worked to improve public perception of the industry through community outreach and an increased understanding of the industry. Both men distinguished themselves as community leaders committed to the idea  of dynamic partnerships and collaboration. Kantor is the outgoing “front man” who helps people understand the importance of implementing good environmental practices. He invited students to come into h is business and conducted “show and tell” productions at local schools to demonstrate how a well-run motor vehicle recycling facility plays an integral part in environmental protection. Now retired from the business, he continues to guide and support the efforts
of his successors to instill a commitment to the environment within the industry. Phelps led with a quiet distinction. He would spend one-on-one time talking about his views on rules, regulations and the state of the industry. Before his untimely death in 2014, he mentored young people, showing them that an environmentally sustainable business can thrive in today’s society.  Phelps and Kantor spent their careers working to elevate an industry that is neither glamorous nor especially lucrative, but is vitally important to the sustainability of our society. Their commitment to substantive improvements of environ­ mental performance within the automotive recycling industry is their legacy.
Governmental Sarah Pillsbury, Brandon Kernen, and Stephen Roy; Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau at NHDES  The Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau at NHDES ensures that the state’s 2,400 public water systems provide safe, reliable drinking water. State employees Sarah Pills­ bury, Brandon Kernen and Stephen Roy have gone above and beyond. With a history of innovative leadership on drinking water, these employees have used science as the foundation for policies, and taken a pioneering approach to environmental protection. Work done by Kernen, Roy, and Pillsbury on contaminants in drinking water illustrate the kind of enterprising work they do. N H DES is using data from studies of contaminants to develop siting criteria for wastewater disposal systems at facilities with a higher load of these contaminants in their effluent. This work has led to state legislation allowing police to collect medicine at events and drop boxes, reducing discharges to groundwater and surface water. Kernen and Roy have also worked to prevent drinking water impacts from currently unregulated contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane, and other recent work has also discovered that low concentrations of several metals may be leaching off geothermal heat pumps and impacting drinking water. Enhanced regulations are now in the works to better manage geothermal wells used for potable water. These are but a few examples of this team’s innovation and dedication to groundwater and drinking water protection for their state.
NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup
A group of government, non-governmental, university, and private organizations in New Hampshire collaborated to provide resources for communities trying to respond to the threats of climate change to the state’s coast. The NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, formed in 2010, has been led by Steve Miller of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Sherry Godlewski of NHDES. Now involving a collaboration of 21 organizations, the workgroup is looked at as a national model. The NH Coastal Adaptation Work­ group received more than $2.75 million in grant funds for municipal projects. It sponsors an Annual Climate Summit, now in its fourth year, and numerous workshops,  attract­ing hundreds of participants. The workgroup also provide resources through a website, newsletter, speaking engagements and a quarterly radio spot. It has educated legislators and was instrumental in establishing the Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission in the NH Legislature. The workgroup model has already been replicated by several other groups throughout New England. The NH Coastal Adaptation Work group is an example of what can be done with few resources and dedicated, hard-working people.
Lori Sommer, NHDES
Lori Sommer, who has worked for NHDES for over 25 yea rs, oversees the Wetlands Mitigation Program. Sommer de­veloped and oversaw a comprehensive new watershed approach to protecting high quality aquatic habitats. She created a new mitigation mechanism, called the In Lieu Fee: Aquatic Resource Mitigation – or ARM – Fund, which gives applicants a cost-effective, balanced approach to mitigation while ensuring long-term environmental benefits. The fund has been highly successful, receiving regional and nation attention. Since it began, it has awarded $6.9 million that has protected 10,840 acres; restored 84 acres of wetlands; and restored and enhanced 4,200 linear feet of streams. Over the last year, Sommer also led an effort to work on cli­mate change and aquatic organism passage. Working with the state Department of Transportation, she spearheaded  a process to inventory deficient culverts, or crossings, that fragment streams. These crossings will be replaced or
rehabilitated as mitigation for other stream impacts. The culvert mitigation program, a new and promising model of collaboration that uses limited funds for environmental gains, can benefit other state programs


Simple modal box
Part Inquiry Form