Sierra Club Celebrates Enviro Leaders And Volunteers

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PRINCETON — The New Jersey Sierra Club hosted their Annual Appreciation Day event to recognize the work being done by Sierra Club volunteers, lawmakers and activists to protect New Jersey’s environment.

“The people that were honored have all demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the environment. Their work has helped make the state of New Jersey better for everyone,” Ken Johanson, chapter chair of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

New Jersey Sierra Club awarded Congressman Rush Holt the Outstanding Achievement Award for his outstanding work to improve the environment here in New Jersey and nationally. He is a key sponsor of the FRAC Act which would remove exemptions for hydraulic fracturing or fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Holt has been a leader on protecting water quality and supported important bills to protect New Jersey from toxic coal ash and mountain top removal coal mining.

“Congressman Holt is an environmental champion with a solid record that includes many major accomplishments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and protection of our waters. Over the years, Holt has been recognized by the Sierra Club as a true leader on environmental issues,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

The Outstanding Achievement Award was also given to state Sen. Christopher Bateman for his long-standing commitment to the environment and leadership on environmental issues throughout his legislative career. Bateman has fought hard to keep New Jersey in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and to keep toxic fracking waste out of the state. He serves on the Senate Energy and Environment Committee and has been a leader on clean energy.

The awards were presented in front of a packed room of Sierra Club volunteers and board members.

“Christopher Bateman is a true leader when it comes to New Jersey’s environment. He has stood up to members of his own party in his efforts to protect New Jersey’s environment. He has helped to pass dozen of laws making New Jersey’s environment a better place. He has sponsored bills supporting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and has fought to protect our water, including from fracking waste,” said Tittel.

Assemblyman John F. McKeon was recognized with the New Jersey Sierra Club’s Outstanding Achievement Award. As Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee and now, John F. McKeon has fought to make New Jersey’s environment a better place. He sponsored the Highlands Act, protecting the drinking supply for millions of state residents and has been critical in the fight to clean up Barnegat Bay. Under the leadership of McKeon, numerous bills were passed to make New Jersey’s environment healthier and safer.

“During his entire time in the New Jersey Legislature, Assemblyman John F. McKeon has been a leader in protecting the environment. He has worked tirelessly to not only help preserve New Jersey’s last remaining open spaces, but also to protect our air and water. He has championed legislation from the Highlands to Climate Change and everything in between. As the chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee, he helped shape every major piece of environmental legislation that has been enacted into law. He has also worked to prevent the weakening of environmental protections and rollbacks. He has stood up to special interests in order to make the environment better for all of us in New Jersey. For these reasons, the New Jersey Sierra Club is giving him an award for outstanding achievement,” said Tittel.

John Kashwick, a New Jersey Sierra Club volunteer, was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award. Kashwick was recognized for his many contributions to the New Jersey Chapter, including his efforts as chair of the North Group to oppose harmful development projects and promote environmental activism. Kashwick has been leading the club’s campaign to achieve better protections for the Delaware Water Gap as a National Park and Preserve.

“John is the living spirit of the Sierra Club with all his volunteer efforts on behalf of the environment. From leading our local North Jersey group to his work on the Delaware Water Gap to his work on the Cloister Town Council, John puts in countless hours to ensure we have a better environment here in New Jersey,” said Tittel.

State Sen. Linda Greenstein was in attendance and was there to celebrate her recent victories. Greenstein has worked to preserve open space and farmland and has protected communities against air pollution and toxins.

“It is wonderful to bring all our members together with our friends and all the different people who have done so much great work this year to be honored. We believe it is important once and while to celebrate what we have accomplished,” said Tittel. “Appreciation Day is a great day where we get to recognize our environmental champions and all the accomplishments they have made in protecting New Jersey’s environment. Sometimes when you are going from issue to issue and battle to battle you forget how much has been accomplished.”

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