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RI Coastal Resources Management Council

...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders

CRMC lauded for role in US’s first wind farm

June 15, 2017 – WAKEFIELD – The Environmental Business Council of New England recently praised all of the partners for the development and operation of the Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, including the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, its permitting authority.

Deepwater Wind, LLC’s five-turbine wind farm off Block Island’s coast is the recipient of the 2017 EBC Ira W. Leighton, Jr. Outstanding Environmental – Energy Technology Achievement Award. Each year, the EBC recognizes companies, organizations and individuals for outstanding environmental and energy accomplishments in the promotion of a sustainable, clean environment through the EBEE Awards Celebration. The awards, according to the EBC, were established to encourage companies, government agencies, non-profits and environmental professionals to serve as models to others and therefore further the mission of the EBC through those actions.

CRMC Executive Director Grover J. Fugate accepted the award on behalf of the Council on June 8 in Boston. The CRMC was instrumental in seeing the wind farm from application to operations, largely through the development and implementation of the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), which guided the Block Island project through a unique permitting process, and will inform any future applications for use of Rhode Island’s offshore environment. This all took place in a series of stakeholder meetings, workshops and public hearings over a number of years.

According to the EBC announcement, the Block Island wind farm has “jumpstarted the U.S. offshore wind industry.” The award goes to “’difference-makers’ because Ira Leighton was a difference-maker.” Leighton was one of the first employees hired at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Boston office in 1972, and went on to serve New England and the nation, at the EPA, for the next 41 years. “His vision helped shape EPA’s reliance on sound science and legal integrity into effective policies to protect the health of all Americans from pollution in the air, water and land,” the announcement said.

“It’s an honor to be counted among those who helped the nation’s first offshore wind farm become a reality, and to represent the values of the EBC and its Ira Leighton, Jr. Outstanding Environmental – Energy Technology Achievement Award,” said Fugate. “The CRMC has blazed many trails in terms of zoning our coastal areas and now our offshore waters, and we will continue to seek to responsibly manage the resources of the State of Rhode Island for this and future generations.”

This is the fifth award the CRMC and Fugate have received for the development of the Ocean SAMP and/or the wind farm. Most recently, Fugate and the CRMC were honored with a Peter Benchley Ocean Award in January, as well as the same honor for the agency’s role as a member of the Northeast Regional Planning Body, which developed the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan, one of the first in the nation’s history. (This plan took cues from the Ocean SAMP.) Fugate was recognized in 2016 with the Congressional Service Award for the Ocean SAMP, and with the Susan Snow-Cotter Award for Excellence in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2010. He also received a Regional Sea Grant Outstanding Outreach Award in 2010.

Grover Fugate

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Press Release Contact:
Daniel K. Moon
Executive Director, EBCNE
(617) 262-4050
dmoon@ebcne.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 30, 2017 - Boston, MA - The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) is pleased to announce that the Block Island Wind project is the recipient of the 2017 EBC Ira W. Leighton, Jr. Outstanding Environmental - Energy Technology Achievement Award.

The 5-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, located roughly three miles off the coast of Block Island, R.I., is America's first offshore wind farm and has jumpstarted the U.S. offshore wind industry. The wind farm began operations in December 2016 and, at 30 megawatts, produces enough energy to power roughly 17,000 Rhode Island homes.

Each year, the EBC recognizes companies, organizations and individuals for outstanding environmental and energy accomplishments in the promotion of a sustainable, clean environment through the EBEE Awards Celebration. These awards were established by the EBC to encourage companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and environmental professionals to serve as models for others to emulate and, in doing so, further the mission and objectives of the EBC.

This award, established by resolution of the Board of Directors on January 15, 2014, recognizes the significant contribution made by Ira Leighton and will be awarded, annually, to an organization or individual(s) for developing or applying innovative technologies to solve problems or advance the state of the art in the environmental - energy sector. This award will go to "difference makers" because Ira was a difference maker.

Ira Leighton (1945 - 2013) was among the first employees hired at the EPA Boston office in 1972 when the agency was in its infancy. He then went on to meritoriously serve New England and the nation, at EPA, for the next 41 years. As a career civil servant and senior EPA leader, working out of the Region One office in Boston, he made positive impacts on the lives of countless New Englanders and citizens across the United States. His vision helped shape EPA's reliance on sound science and legal integrity into effective policies to protect the health of all Americans from pollution in the air, water and land.

Ira started working for the U.S. EPA1s Boston office as an engineer, after working at the state and municipal levels. During the 1970's and 80's, he worked on solid waste management issues and then on contaminated site clean ups. He was pivotal in shaping EPA's Superfund program in New England following the 1980 passage of the Superfund law.

In the 1990's, Ira managed EPA Region One's enforcement efforts. He fostered an integrated approach, providing assisting regulated entities in understanding environmental obligations and then followed with measured enforcement actions against those that did not comply. For his last 13 years at EPA he served as the Deputy Regional Administrator -the senior career official- in EPA's Region One office, overseeing the Agency's panoply of programs throughout New England.

The Block Island Wind project will be honored at the Annual EBEE Awards Celebration on June 8 at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) was established in 1990 by environmental and energy company executives who began meeting on a regular basis to exchange ideas and share experiences. The EBC was the first organization in the United States established to support and foster the development of the environmental industry. The goal of the EBC is to enhance business and job growth of both established and emerging environmental and energy businesses. For more information, please contact Ann Gisinger at (617) 505-1818 or ebc@ebcne.org.

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