Congratulations to Elizabeth Chimento and Poul Hertel, the winners of the inaugural Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award. Ms. Chimento and Mr. Hertel worked tirelessly to raise awareness about Alexandria’s air quality and hold offenders accountable. According to the City’s press release:
They zealously defended the rights of their community to ensure that the power plant was held to all permit conditions and rules and regulations of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Their work has been the catalyst that raised the awareness of this issue to City Council and eventually led the City to achieve a $34 million dollar settlement with Mirant aimed at installing improved stack and fugitive PM2.5 controls at this plant
For their outstanding dedication to the environment, the winners will have a tree planted in their honor in Ben Brenman Park.
Ellen Pickering was a long-time environmental activist in Alexandria. She first won recognition for her efforts to create the Mount Vernon Trail. Emboldened by her success, Ms. Pickering lobbied the City Council to adopt an Open Space Plan and later as a member of the City Council, lobbied the Federal Government to request additional funds to add to the $18,000 the City had already allocated. As the chair of the Beautification Committee, Ms. Pickering coordinated the planting of 1,000 cherry trees, which were donated by citizens.
Cheers to Elizabeth and Poul. I’m sure Ellen would be proud of their work.