Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards awarded annually to individuals and organizations that demonstrate commitment and leadership on environmental issues.
Newark, NJ – Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Department of Water and Sewer Utilities Director Kareem Adeem have won top recognition in the 23rd Annual Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards, as announced last week by Shawn M. LaTourette, the Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Mayor Baraka and Director Adeem are the recipients of the prestigious Richard J. Sullivan Award, named for the DEP first’s commissioner, and given to New Jersey residents who demonstrate exceptional leadership and outstanding accomplishment in safeguarding public health, protecting, and enhancing New Jersey’s diverse natural resources and creating vibrant, sustainable communities that provide economic opportunity for all.
The Newark leaders were lauded for the City’s lead service line replacement program, called a ‘national model’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris, in which the City removed more than 23,000 lead service lines in less than three years at no cost to residents.
“This is a proud moment for the City,” Mayor Baraka said. “As soon as we began to understand why the trace lead amounts in our water exceeded EPA standards, we looked for ways to rid the City of all our lead lines. It was a team effort of City, state, county and federal governments, our contractors – who put a few dozen Newark residents to work in high-paying union jobs – and our residents, who opened the doors for us to get the job done.”
“This is a great honor for the City of Newark, Newark Water and Sewer Utilities, but also for the residents of Newark,” Director Adeem said. “Without their cooperation and trust we would have never been able to complete the program as efficiently as we did, and with the least possible disruption to the City.”
The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards are awarded each year to individuals and organizations that demonstrate commitment and leadership on a variety of environmental issues, including environmental justice, climate change, sustainability, education, and protection of natural resources.
The awards were presented virtually. The video recording is available on DEP’s YouTube channel. Excerpts from the presentation and videos of the honorees will also be featured on DEP’s social media channels.
The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award is New Jersey’s premier environmental awards program, having recognized 212 winners since 2000. The DEP, New Jersey Infrastructure Bank and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology sponsor the program.
A panel of judges reviewed and scored the nominations on criteria including documented environmental benefit, contributions to meeting the state’s environment needs, replicability by others, leadership and innovation, and education and outreach undertaken as part of the effort. To learn more about the program, visit dep.nj.gov/awards.
Source: City of Newark
Featured image: (l) Mayor Ras J. Baraka and (r) Department of Water and Sewer Utilities Director Kareem Adeem