Department Recognizes Environmental Stewards
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011 The Defense Department today recognized its best stewards of the nation’s natural and cultural resources at a Pentagon ceremony marking the 2011 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards.
“The Defense Department has long made it a priority to protect our natural and cultural resources,” said Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment. “As the Marine Corps puts it, ‘A country worth fighting for is a country worth preserving.’”
The department oversees 28 million acres that include 1,400 threatened or endangered species, 40 of which are found only on military property, Robyn said. She described a complex range of environmental issues that confront the department, including being the steward of thousands of archaeological and historical sites -- the most in the United States.
The department is responsible for protecting the land and resources not only for future Americans, but also for service members to train on, Robyn said.
“When I visit installations, I am humbled by the dedication, and the skill and competence when it comes to protecting the natural and cultural environment -- and today we honor the best,” she said.
Ashton B. Carter, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a prepared statement that all of the nominees strive to promote environmental practices that reduce energy operating costs.
“We celebrate their successes not only because they enhance mission capability, but because they provide a sustainable, long-lasting, and flexible approach to national security,” he said.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Bob Barnes, a senior policy advisor on defense issues for the nonprofit organization Nature Conservancy, said the award recipients achieved much while having “to do too much with too little.”
Barnes said he visited many of the installations recognized at today’s ceremony.
“It is truly impressive to see it firsthand, and I wish every American had an opportunity to see what you do,” he said.
Bob Perciasepe, deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said DOD and EPA are more natural partners than they might seem. “Defending our nation depends on defending our environment,” he said.
“It’s clear from these awards that you’ve chosen to lead by example,” he added.
The winners include:
-- The 88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Directorate’s environmental branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for cultural resources management on an installation. The organization collaborated with a private architect to produce a new historic preservation guide book at the base where the Wright Brothers had perfected the first practical airplane. They also completed an adapted reuse of a historic building, promoted awareness of the area’s Native American culture, and preserved one of the state’s few remaining natural prairies.
-- The Cultural Resources Management Team at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for cultural resources management by an individual or team. The team identified 299 archaeological sites, evaluated 59 sites for National Register eligibility, evaluated 106 buildings and surveyed more than 39,000 acres.
-- The Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Supply Center in Richmond, Va., for environmental quality of an industrial installation. The center acquired new E85 hybrid and electric vehicles, reduced gasoline usage by maintaining a 6,000-gallon E85 fuel supply tank, and improved energy efficiency by replacing and recycling outdated mercury vapor lamps with fluorescent ones.
-- U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany, for environmental quality of an overseas installation. The installation met its environmental goals of removing 546 pounds of ozone-depleting substances in 78 facilities, virtually eliminated erosion on its training grounds, implemented a post-wide recycling program, and saved $490,000 through the German Forest Service’s erosion control and environmental mitigation projects.
-- Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for environmental restoration on an installation. The station developed partnerships with regulatory agencies, nonprofit groups and others to streamline the cleanup of contaminated soil sites as part of $23 million in cleanup projects. They also developed and tested environmental technologies and sought out opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, cost and environmental footprints.
-- Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for natural resources conservation at a large installation. The base hosted the only prescribed burn effort in the country where wildland fire professionals can bring new technologies and practices to a controlled environment and share results immediately. The base also helped to increase the nesting clusters of the endangered red cockaded woodpecker from 390 to 429 and breeding pairs from 347 to 392.
-- Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., for sustainability in a nonindustrial installation. The base environmental requirements into its design standards, contracts, and purchase card training; used comprehensive recycling programs to achieve an 87 percent diversion rate for solid waste, and provided a variety of alternatively fueled vehicles.
-- The Exchange Corporate Sustainability Program, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, with headquarters in Dallas, for sustainability by an individual or team. The program upgraded a customized Web-based Army and Air Force Exchange Service system to measure utility consumption and cost for base exchange buildings, and has tested numerous new technologies through pilot programs.
-- Sustainable Painting Operations for the Total Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for environmental excellence in weapons systems acquisitions for a small program. The program fostered a sustainability ethic by turning out technologies with low or no hazardous emissions into surface coating operations; minimized costs of materiel and facilities, simplified the compliance burden, and enabled the Army to transition to organic HAP-free paint removers.