Clean Water Action Announces Environmental Champions to be Honored Next Week

Thursday, April 30, 2020
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Clean Water Action will honor a number of Rhode Islanders at our 18th Annual Breakfast of Champions (from home), next Friday, May 8th at 9:30am.

Each year, Clean Water Action recognizes Rhode Islanders that have contributed to the preservation and stewardship of the state's natural resources, led efforts to enact policies that protect public health, and worked to address environmental inequities.

This year, Clean Water Action will recognize:

  • Kate Weymouth, Barrington Town Council vice-president: Kate is being honored for her leadership in reducing plastic pollution in Rhode Island. She co-sponsored and was the driving force behind the state’s first municipal bag bill, passed in 2012. In 2019, she once again led on this issue as the sponsor of the state’s first municipal ordinance prohibiting the use of single-use polystyrene foam products, plastic utensils, and plastic straws.
  • Anna Burnley, owner, Mission NPT; and Scott Kirmil, owner, Diego’s: Anna and Scott, leaders in their industry, own the two prominent Newport restaurants that were the first in the state to become certified ReThink Disposable businesses in July of 2019. ReThink Disposable is Clean Water Action’s waste reduction program that works with food service businesses to find ways to eliminate single-use disposable food service items, reducing waste, plastic pollution, and operational costs.
  • The City of Providence’s Office of Sustainability and Racial and Environmental Justice Committee (REJC): The Office of Sustainability and members of the REJC have been selected because of their commitment to ensuring that the voices of frontline communities are prioritized during policy discussions within the city. The development of the 'Recommendations for a Racially Equitable and Just Providence' and the 'Climate Justice Plan' are critical documents for establishing guidelines and mandates for putting equity and justice at the forefront of the municipal decision-making process and serve as national models for starting to address local-level environmental injustice and racism.

Clean Water Action will also present the David R. Gerraughty Award for Lifetime Commitment to the Environment to Jerry Elmer, senior staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation. Jerry, who earlier this year announced his retirement after over fifty years of activism, was nominated for this award by a lengthy list of his peers. Jerry has litigated some of the most important environmental cases in Rhode Island in Federal and state court, is the author of many of Rhode Island’s key renewable energy statutes, and is a past-president of the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI). Besides his achievements in the environmental field, Jerry spent his early career advocating for peace and justice and opposing the construction of nuclear power facilities. Additionally, Jerry was recognized at last year’s Breakfast of Champions for leading the successful legal fight against the construction of a fracked-gas power plant in Burrillville.

The Breakfast of Champions is normally held in-person each spring, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be held virtually this year. Tickets for the event are available and can be purchased on the Breakfast of Champions event page

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Clean Water Action’s mission is to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems.

The David R. Gerraughty Award is named in honor of the long-time Clean Water Action program organizer and canvasser who chose protecting the environment and safeguarding public health as his "second career". This award is given each year to one member of the environmental community who has made significant, long-term contributions to environmental and public health protections in Rhode Island over the course of their life and/or career. 

Johnathan Berard, Clean Water Action
401.441.8844
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