By Howard Koplowitz
U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) nominated two borough civic groups — CURES and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers — last Thursday for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 Environmental Quality Award.
The yearly awards are given out in commemoration of Earth Day and honor people or groups that benefit public health and the environment. The winners are honored at an April ceremony at the EPA’s Manhattan office.
Civics United for Railroad Environment Solutions is a conglomeration of 14 civic groups from Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Elmhurst, Woodside, Forest Hills and Woodhaven that raise awareness of expanded railroad operations at the Fresh Pond Terminal and the expansion’s effect on local residents, among other issues.
“Coalitions such as CURES are an example of effective community involvement at its finest,” the congressman said. “There is nothing more important in the current political process than local residents and leaders coming together for a common cause to send a larger message.”
Turner said CURES members “should be proud of the work they have done, and I am honored to nominate CURES for this award. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”
Mary Parison, co-chairwoman and co-founder of CURES, said the group “is honored that the work of our civic coalition has been nominated for a U.S. EPA Environmental Quality Award by Rep. Turner. For more than two decades, civic leaders from the Queens Community Board 5 area have been asking for safer and cleaner freight rail.
“We sincerely hope this nomination means the time has finally come for state-of-the-art noise and diesel fuel emissions reduction technology. New technology will bring cleaner air, a healthier environment and a better quality of life to communities that must live in the expansion of freight rail in New York City.”
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers was formed in 1998 to protect and restore marshes in Jamaica Bay, an area that covers 25,000 acres.
“Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have led the charge and taken the lead on so many projects to protect our local marshland,” Turner said. “They have documented nitrogen loading, algae blooms and marsh loss; raised public awareness of the possible disappearance of all marshland from the bay by 2020; and worked to prevent city-owned wetlands from being auctioned off for development. Organizations such as Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers work to preserve the natural beauty of our great city and for that they should be recognized.”
Dan Mundy Sr., president of the group, said the organization’s members “have worked tirelessly to advocate for the treasured natural resource that is Jamaica Bay.”
“It is very rewarding to have this type of recognition afforded to our efforts, and it will certainly help to highlight and advance our future efforts to protect this unique and wonderful ecological jewel,” Mundy said. “We not only appreciate the action on Rep. Turner’s part, but all the efforts and attention that his office has directed towards Jamaica Bay, its issues and our restoration efforts since coming to office.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.