25th Anniversary Environmental Initiative Award Winners Announced

Leaders and projects from across the state honored for environmental outcomes

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Environmental Initiative, a local nonprofit organization, honored the winners of the 25th Anniversary Environmental Initiative Awards at a ceremony and dinner in Minneapolis on May 25. This annual event marked the celebration of the organization’s 25th Anniversary and it’s work over the last quarter-century to develop cross-sector partnerships to solve Minnesota’s environmental problems.

“Of all the things we do, the Environmental Initiative Awards truly exemplifies the spirit of our mission to solve problems collaboratively,” said Mike Harley, Environmental Initiative Executive Director. “Since the first Awards in 1994, our goal has always been to lift up those who work together for our environment. There is no better space, and among no better company, to celebrate Environmental Initiative’s 25th anniversary.”

The 25th Anniversary Environmental Initiative Award winners are:

Community Action – Governmental Solar Garden Collaborative
The Governmental Solar Garden Collaborative is a joint effort by and for 31 local governments in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan region to procure solar garden subscriptions from a single Request for Proposals (RFP) process to offset the energy usage at public facilities. Twenty-four participants said that they were moving to sign subscription agreements for a cumulative 33 megawatts of solar capacity. In 2015, Minnesota generated 35 megawatts for community solar subscriptions total.

Critical Collaborator – Ron Nargang
Ron Nargang held high-level positions at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. He also has extensive experience in the formulation, passage, and implementation of public policy initiatives through open exchange and partnership.

Critical Collaborator – Mike Robertson
Mike Robertson has been a key player in environmental policy development in Minnesota for more than 30 years. He’s held positions at several state agencies, been a founding member of Clean Air Minnesota, and had great influence on nearly every piece of Minnesotan environmental policy since the 1980s.

Emerging Leader – Eliza Clark
Eliza Clark is the Director of Sustainability and Environmental at Andersen Corporation, a founding member of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, and the Vice Chair of Super Bowl LII’s Sustainability Committee. She’s a standout in corporate sustainability, and known for unifying others.

Energy and Climate – City of Hutchinson Landfill Solar PV
The City of Hutchinson is home to the largest landfill solar project in Minnesota, made possible by public-private partnership. The 400-kilowatt array is tied directly to the wastewater treatment plant nearby, helping offset energy use for the city’s largest municipal energy consumer. This project is the first of its kind in the state.

Natural Resources – Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant

In 2013, Ramsey County purchased a World War II army ammunition plant with the goal of restoring the site to a vibrant residential and commercial area— Rice Creek Commons. The project and its partners removed tons of hazardous waste, created nearly 2,000 feet of stream, and restored a floodplain. In total, 93% of the materials removed from the site were recycled or reused in new roadways on the site and in other parts of the Twin Cities.

Sustainable Business – Promoting Deconstruction and Reuse
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, more than 80 percent of the 1.6 million tons of construction and demolition waste was landfilled in 2013. In 2016, Better Futures Minnesota and their partners helped recycle or reuse more than 1,571 tons of building materials that would have otherwise been landfilled. In addition to solid waste reduction, 750.5 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided. Better Futures trains men with a history of incarceration, homelessness, poverty, untreated mental and physical health conditions and other traumas to conduct deconstruction and reuse efforts and achieve self-sufficiency.

About the 25th Anniversary Environmental Initiative Awards
Each year, Environmental Initiative honors innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary environmental results by harnessing the power of partnership. New this year, the organization also honored three individuals for their impact in Minnesota’s environmental community, contributing to the state’s national, environmental leadership. The 2017 celebration marks Environmental Initiative’s 25th anniversary.

About Environmental Initiative
Environmental Initiative is a nonprofit organization that builds partnerships with business, government and nonprofit leaders to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems. The organization has honored collaborative environmental projects through their annual awards program since 1994. www.environmental-initiative.org

Damian Goebel
612-334-3388 ext. 8106
[email protected]