NOAA 2000-033
Contact: Greg Hernandez


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Environmental Hero Awards were presented this year during Earth Week activities across the country to individuals and organizations for their "tireless efforts to preserve and protect our nation's environment."

This year there are a total of 72 honorees—68 individuals and four organizations—with the majority of the Environmental Heroes having worked extensively with NOAA's 12 national marine sanctuaries.

Vice President Al Gore sent each one of the Environmental Heroes a personal letter congratulating them on receiving the award from NOAA. Gore said, "As we observe the 30th annual Earth Day, please know that by volunteering your time and energy, you are part of a large worldwide community dedicated to building a legacy that will last for centuries."

Gore also paid tribute to NOAA for its three decades of service to the American people. "Today as people all over the world celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, NOAA also celebrates its 30th anniversary as this country's leading government agency in describing, predicting and protecting our environment. These two important milestones make it evident that Americans put a very high value on the environment we live in."

The vice president said the Clinton-Gore Administration has made significant progress in environmental protection. Mr. Gore said, "We must continue to build on these achievements to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy a healthy and thriving environment. With your help, we have repeatedly and successfully demonstrated that economic growth can go hand-in-hand with efforts to sustain and protect the environment."

This is the fifth year that NOAA has presented the Environmental Hero Award and the first time that an award was presented posthumously. The award is given to individuals and organizations that volunteer to help NOAA to carry out its mission.

The complete list of Environmental Heroes can be found on the World Wide
Web at: