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President's Environmental Youth Awards Remarks on Presenting the Awards

April 27, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. I'd like to say just a word before we begin the awards ceremony.

Last year I initiated a program to recognize outstanding young people throughout our country who are moving on their own, particularly at the local community level, to improve the environmental quality of our Nation. The whole thrust of this effort is to encourage young people to participate, to analyze how they can contribute to the quality of life around their own homes in a practical way, not just a theoretical way, and to let the judgment of how successful they are be determined by those who live in the community itself.

We've got just a small group, about 15 here this morning, to receive awards that will be given by the Environmental Protection Agency. They represent about 70,000 young people who participated within the last 12 months in this very notable and worthwhile effort. And I'd like to call on Doug Costle, now, and Barbara Blum to read the citations, and I will participate in the award of the honors.

I've studied what they have done in the different communities represented here, and I think when you see what they've done, you'll understand that it's been a practical matter, in solid waste disposal sites, the quality of water in a local stream, the enhancement of the beauty of a major community. These kinds of things are very practical, down to earth, but extremely important.

Barbara, Doug?

MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, the first group of young people here today are from the Marie Reed Community Learning Center. Now, they've already undertaken some beautification projects, but one of the interesting things this group of 11-year-olds is doing is planting a garden this spring to grow vegetables that in fact will be used in the school lunchroom. And they've been particularly active, and we'd like first to ask the President if he wouldn't present the award to them.

Ms. BLUM. Mr. President, I'd like to present Tyrone Arrington.

THE PRESIDENT. Very good. This group, by the way, is from Washington, D.C., right?

MR. COSTLE. That's right.

THE PRESIDENT. Congratulations.

MS. BLUM. And this is Allen King.

THE PRESIDENT. Allen, which one of those vegetables are you looking forward to having? Have you got a favorite vegetable?

MR. KING. No. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. This group has been involved, so far, in beautification, right? And you're also going to do the vegetable production. Very good.

MS. BLUM. Mr. President, Scotty Vaughan.

THE PRESIDENT. Scotty Vaughan, congratulations to you.

MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, this next young man is from Breese, Illinois, and he is really a rather remarkable young fellow. He started a very careful effort to do stream water quality monitoring. He went out and bought his own equipment, he set up his own lab, he picked eight sites. He's done over 2,000 samples to test the water of the streams in his neighborhood for pollution. And he's picked up in those samples examples of petroleum-related discharges, of area-source discharges, and also ordinary sewage discharges. But he's done this entirely on his own. He's really quite a remarkable young man.

Ms. BLUM. Steven Michael Mensing, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Steven? Tell me how the quality of—Beaver Creek, right?


THE PRESIDENT. How's the quality changed since you've been doing your tests—at all?

MR. MENSING. Since I've begun my tests, an oil pump has been removed, so that's going to take away some of the problems.

THE PRESIDENT. Very good. Make sure everybody in your community knows what they can do to make Beaver Creek a purer and more beautiful stream. Good luck to you.

MR. MENSING. Thank you, Mr. President.

MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, the next award winners are from Ballou Senior High School here in Washington. And they have been interested in a variety of things. Most notably they've started a major recycling center, and they're recycling aluminum. I think they've already recycled on the order of 10,000 cans. They also took an interest in noise problems, and they've made a number of recommendations, as I understand it, that the school's actually adopted, that have in fact reduced the noise levels with which they have to contend. And we're particularly proud of this group.

Ms. BLUM. Mr. President, Donna Cunningham.

THE PRESIDENT. Donna, congratulations to you. I'm very proud of you. I might point out that this is a permanent recycling center that they've established, primarily for aluminum, and they've done noise' studies in their own classroom areas to make sure that noise pollution is both recognized and reduced.

This is something that could be important as a project for schools throughout the country, because quite often, we don't realize how high the noise level comes and how disturbing it can be, not only to concentration on studies but also actually to the health of the students involved.

Ms. BLUM. And the second person on the project, Leslie Only.

THE PRESIDENT. Leslie, good luck to you, and thank you for the good work you've done.

MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, our final group is from B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts. Now, they've been involved in an ongoing committee effort at the school for over 3 years. Their first area of interest was water quality, and they've done a number of surveys in that area. They've more recently gotten interested in the solid waste problems of the city, and they've spent time at the municipal incinerator, they've done air sampling at that incinerator, and they've come up with a number of very concrete suggestions on how to introduce resource recovery in that area and to improve the way the garbage problem is in fact handled.

Ms. BLUM. Mr. President, may I present Mary Ellen Gurnett.

THE PRESIDENT. Mary Ellen, congratulations to you.

MS. BLUM. And this is Richard Mechaber.

THE PRESIDENT. Richard, congratulations.

MS. BLUM. Ann Marie Medeiros.

THE PRESIDENT. Ann Marie, thank you for coming.

MS. BLUM. Frances Melvin.

THE PRESIDENT. Frances, congratulations.

MS. BLUM. Joanne Nicoletti.

THE PRESIDENT. Joanne, good luck, and thank you for the good work.

MS. BLUM. Joseph Sabik.

THE PRESIDENT. Joseph, good to see you.

MS. BLUM. Janet Vincelette (Ms. Blum should have said "Ann Salois.") 1

1 Printed in the transcript.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. Is that the wrong name?

MS. BLUM. Stephen Vincelette.

THE PRESIDENT. IS that right? Okay.

MS. BLUM. Janice Yee.

THE PRESIDENT. Janice, congratulations to you.

Well, I want to say in closing that this is a group who have been chosen to represent the 70,000 other young people of their age who have participated in these practical explorations of streams, yards, and schoolgrounds, noise levels, garbage dumps, waste disposal, air pollution, every aspect of environmental quality. And what they do can make Doug Costle's job much easier in the future by cutting down on the violations of the law and the violations of the purity of the air and water and earth that God gave us in our beautiful country.

Congratulations to you, Doug, on establishing the program and seeing it grow. I hope it'll be an even greater success, Barbara, this coming year.

Ms. BLUM. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, everybody. We are deeply indebted to you for setting an example for the rest of the country, and I'm proud of you.

Note: The President spoke at 12 noon at the ceremony in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Also participating in the ceremony were Douglas M. Costle, Administrator, and Barbara Blum, Deputy Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency.

Jimmy Carter, President's Environmental Youth Awards Remarks on Presenting the Awards Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/245405

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