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Feinstone Environmental Awards

Annual Banquet at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - U.S. Representative James T. Walsh of the 25th District of New York has been named the recipient of the 2003 Honorary Sol Feinstone Environmental Award by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Walsh was chosen for the honor because of his leadership in improving the environment of Central New York. The awards committee also honored the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company for demonstrating a commitment to protecting the environment. The company was chosen from among several nominees, all for-profit businesses operating in New York State, as the recipient of the annual Feinstone Environmental Award.

Walsh and Bristol officials will receive the awards during a dinner March 21 at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park.

The awards committee chose to honor Walsh because of his commitment to secure federal funds to help clean up Onondaga Lake, helping to earmark $10 million to $15 million a year for that endeavor. He has also aided the establishment of the New York Center for Indoor Environmental Quality by providing funding for the asthma health effects study being conducted among Syracuse's inner-city residents. This work will lead to the development of both standards for indoor air quality and treatment technology to remediate harmful conditions.

Walsh has helped support the emerging Center of Excellence in Environmental Systems in Central New York, which will develop new technology to protect the environment and help establish a sound platform for future economic growth.

He has secured funding for numerous other projects, including soil and water conservation district projects in Onondaga, Cortland, and Cayuga Counties; farm management plans in the Skaneateles, Otisco and Owasco Lake watersheds; Oneida Lake watershed management; water quality improvements at Jamesville Reservoir; sewage and wastewater system construction and improvements; Cortland County aquifer and Upper Susquehanna watershed improvements; the cleanup of Long Island Sound; and protection of the New York City water supply watershed in the Catskill Mountains.

He has also been an advocate of Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program, Wetland Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, and Grasslands Reserve Program; authored and sponsored legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives creating the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor; secured funding for water infrastructure improvement projects along Onondaga Creek.

Walsh has been involved in other projects involving the Cayuga County waterfront, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse, the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative, Baltimore Woods in Marcellus, Three Rivers Point in Clay and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway. Walsh is a founder of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, which promotes conservation investment, wildlife restoration initiatives, and the interests of America's sportsmen and women

"Through the Sol Feinstone Environmental Award, the college has the opportunity to recognize a man who has true passion for protecting the environment and ensuring its proper stewardship," said ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. "Congressman Walsh has gone far beyond his responsibility as the elected representative for this district. We at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry have the unique opportunity to honor a man who clearly represents the beliefs, vision and ideals of the late Sol Feinstone."

The award to Bristol, which operates one of the world's largest bulk penicillin manufacturing facilities in Syracuse, honors the company for serving as a role model for other companies to emulate. The awards committee chose Bristol based on significant accomplishments and improvements in environmental affairs:

  • Since 1988, the Syracuse facility has reduced by more than 93 percent the amount of emissions covered by the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory. The amount of such emissions dropped from 7.3 million pounds annually to approximately .5 million pounds.
  • Bristol also monitors emissions of solvents that are not reportable to the EPA under the Toxic Release Inventory. When both categories of solvents are considered together, the reduction is more than 85 percent.
  • In 1996, the Syracuse facility received the New York State Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention.
  • The Syracuse facility has a Community Advisory Council, the first of its type in the state and the first in the Bristol-Myers Squibb network, which serves as a conduit of information between neighbors and company employees. Since 1993, fence-line neighbors, environmental activists, state Department of Environmental Conservation representatives, college professors and clergy have served on the council.
  • The United Nations Environmental Programme and Sustain Ability Ltd. ranked Bristol-Myers Squibb the highest of any U.S.-based company, and eighth among the top 50 companies in the world, in Trust Us: The Global Reporters 2002 Survey of Corporate Sustainability Reporting.
  • Invest Strategic Value Advisors, Inc., an international investment advisory firm, ranked Bristol as the top company in its June 2002 report on the relative corporate environmental performance among 29 pharmaceutical companies in the United States, Europe and Japan. Several premier socially responsible investment funds feature Bristol-Myers Squibb in their portfolios.
  • In 2001, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company voluntarily adopted one of the most comprehensive sets of sustainability goals of any multinational corporation, known as the Sustainability 2010 Goals. Highlights include reducing water use by 10 percent, reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, reducing off-site hazardous waste disposal by 50 percent, reducing energy use by 10 percent, reducing packaging, and encourage businesses to adopt environmental management systems.

Feinstone, a widely known historian and author who was a graduate of SUNY-ESF, established the Feinstone awards program in 1976. His goal was to reward people and organizations that exemplified his belief that the best insurance for a free society lay in people's desire and ability to do voluntarily the things that need to be done for the good of all.

The Feinstone program has made more than 100 awards, honoring individuals from across the United States for their significant contributions to protecting the environment, promoting the wise use and management of our country's natural resources, and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.

Read also: SU Daily Orange story on Congressman Walsh