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This Week's Highlights

NEIA member SUNCOR honoured with province’s “Environmental Leader” award

The winners of the 25th annual Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Awards were announced at a ceremony today at Admiral’s Green Clubhouse, Pippy Park Golf Course in St. John’s.

The Environmental Awards comprise six categories: Individual; Community Group or Organization; Youth, Youth Group or School; Municipality or Regional Waste Management Committee; Business or Industry Leader; and Lifetime Achievement. Each recipient receives a plaque and $1,000 honorarium from the MMSB to either further their own environmental projects or donate to an environmental cause of their choice.

The winners of the 2014 Environmental Awards are:

Suncor Energy: Industry Leader

Suncor Energy operates the offshore Terra Nova oil field. A Floating, Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is used to produce oil from this field and it can store 960,000 barrels of oil onboard. Oil is then offloaded from the vessel onto large shuttle tankers for transport.

In the past, as oil was being added to the storage tanks of the vessel, gases in the upper portion of the tanks were exhausted through the main cargo tanks vent to make room for the incoming oil. When the oil was being offloaded from the vessels to the shuttle tanker, for safety reasons, specialized blanketing inert gas was added to the storage tanks while the oil was being removed from the vessel. Then, as oil was being produced from the field to the vessel, these specialized gases which contain volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, were being exhausted to the atmosphere. It is this source of VOCs that has been significantly reduced by the Hydrocarbon Blanket Gas and Recovery System. This new system essentially replaced the previously used inert gas with produced hydrocarbon gas that can be re-directed back in the process and recovered, significantly eliminating exhausting of the VOCs. The new system will result in approximately a 90 per cent reduction in VOC emissions from tank venting and is designed to operate for the remaining life of the Terra Nova oil field.

In addition to the reduction of VOC emissions from tank venting, two inert gas generators used to produce the blanketing inert gas by burning diesel are no longer necessary. These generators themselves also had contributed to pollutant emissions from the Floating, Production Storage and Offloading vessel, including VOCs.

Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium: Community Group or Organization

The Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium is a catch and release aquarium – one of the few aquariums of this type in North America. The summer of 2013 alone attracted over 17,000 visitors in four months.

The Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium has a number of environmental programs to offer. Every visitor is engaged in hands-on, one-on-one environmental education about the wonders of the ocean. The aquarium has a Waste Watchers Program in which children are taught about the impacts of garbage on ocean life, and how preparing a waste-free lunch can help. The aquarium has environmental policies such as buying locally, using environmentally friendly cleaners, minimizing paper use, and using reusable bags. The aquarium has partnered with other groups for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup along the four kilometres of shoreline in Petty Harbour and Maddox Cove. The aquarium also hosts a number of lecture series about ocean science.

As a community organization, the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium had an outstanding first year, and they stand to educate many more people on issues relating to the ocean and the environment.

The Town of Labrador City: Municipality

Built on Industry…Thriving in Nature is the theme for the iron rich region of Labrador West. As part of its commitment to the environment, the Town of Labrador City’s Municipal Stewardship Agreement with the province, seeks to conserve valuable wetland and wildlife habitat within its planning boundaries. As an active member of the non-profit Stewardship Association of Municipalities (SAM), the Town of Labrador City is dedicated to the enhancement and restoration of wildlife habitats.

The registration of the Kami Iron Ore Project with provincial and federal authorities challenged a newly elected council, with the permanent loss of an entire stewardship zone; a first in this province’s history. Despite significant development pressure enhanced by the abrupt idling of Wabush Mines, a major industrial employer within the region, and the absence of provincial wetland policy to guide its efforts, the Labrador City Town Council successfully negotiated a Corporate Stewardship Agreement with the proponent, securing the following:

  • One to one replacement of the management unit with an area of similar size and ecological attributes in accordance with a “no net loss” principle;
  • $1.2 million in additional environmental rehabilitation initiatives to be undertaken by the proponent within the municipal planning area;
  • $400,000 Stewardship Grant for environmental projects based on priorities as established by an Environmental Committee appointed by the municipality; and
  • A travel subsidy to host a future SAM conference in Labrador West, showcasing the achievements derived under the Corporate Stewardship Agreement.

In securing this nomination, the Town of Labrador City is recognized for its leaderships in economic and environmental sustainability.

Jean Ann Lambert: Individual

Jean Ann Lambert shares her love for environment not only with her students at Holy Name of Mary Academy but also with her neighbors and friends in her community of Lawn.

As the teacher champion for her school’s award-winning environment group, the Eco-Kids, Jean Ann leads by example, establishing a school and community-based recycling program, raising awareness about climate change with sweater days, mobilizing the troops for community cleanups and implementing a school-wide composting program – that’s just to name a few!

Jean Ann’s most recent undertaking includes the creation of a biodiversity garden and outdoor classroom where during the summer she volunteers to ensure the plants are ready to be harvested and used for community a Thanksgiving dinner. She also shares her enthusiasm for gardening through her involvement in the Marine Institute Ocean Net project.

When not busy in the classroom or garden, Jean Ann also finds time to raise funds, ensuring these important programs can continue to grow and generate awareness and action for generations to come.

Emma Power: Youth

Emma Power is well known as an exemplary student leader in Queen Elizabeth Regional High School and in the community of Conception Bay South (C.B.S.). Not only is she a brilliant high achiever, but she also has a vision for making the world a better place and the motivation and skills to make her vision a reality. Emma is a thoughtful individual who cares deeply about the environment and the well-being of people around her.

Emma has worked tirelessly, through the use of social media, to educate the students at Queen Elizabeth Regional High School and the community about the consequences of global warming. As a result of her campaign, Emma has been instrumental in bringing about the first ever curbside recycling program to C.B.S. As chair of the school’s environment committee, Emma has brought innovative ideas to the team and turned these ideas into action. Through her environmental efforts, Emma has continued to secure funding to maintain the school’s composting program and to establish the school’s first ever water filling station to reduce the waste caused by disposable water bottles.

Emma represents the school community through her involvement with volunteer school and community environmental activities. She has been recognized, through the school’s Student Recognition Awards program, as a Student of the Month and as an Ambassador of the Month. She recently won the EF Tours Global Citizen Scholarship for her efforts in entrepreneurship and stewardship of the environment. Emma continues to make an environmental difference at Queen Elizabeth Regional High School and in the community of C.B.S.

Immaculate Heart of Mary School: Youth Group or School

The students and staff at Immaculate Heart of Mary School (IHMS) in Corner Brook are very proud of their commitment to protecting the environment – and for good reason. This independent all-grade school is raising the bar when it comes to demonstrating exceptional environmental leadership through activities such as recycling, composting, energy conservation, naturalization and environmental learning.

Through teamwork and dedication, IHMS is now home to an outdoor classroom landscaped with natural stone, trees and shrubs that offers a unique, boreal setting where students can grow and learn about environmental stewardship. The schoolyard also boasts a self-sustained, carbon neutral greenhouse where students and volunteers plant vegetables and herbs that when harvested are donated to less fortunate families in the area.

In addition to being a top recycler in the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board’s School Recycling Program for the past four years, IHMS has been recognized both provincially and nationally for outstanding performance in the Recycle My Cell campaign. Leaving no stone unturned, the school is also committed to an energy conservation plan that focuses on reducing energy consumption guided by the belief that Earth Hour is every hour at IHMS.

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