EPA honors Chula Vista with top environmental award in Washington D.C.

provided by the City of Chula Vista

he City of Chula Vista was presented with one of the US Environmental Protection Agency's most prestigious awards during Earth Day ceremonies in Washington D.C. The City is one of 13 recipients selected from countries around the world to receive the 2003 Climate Protection Award. The annual award honors the extraordinary accomplishments of individuals, companies and organizations that have made significant contributions to protecting the environment.

    Chula Vista Council member Jerry Rindone accepted the award on behalf of the City. “This is a significant environmental award, a great achievement,” he said. “The entire community got behind our efforts to protect the environment and improve the quality of life for all Chula Vista residents – and we've been successful.”

    EPA officials recognize Chula Vista as a long-standing leader in local efforts to address climate change. “For over a decade, Chula Vista has worked to implement innovative measures that both protect the environment and encourage economic development,” said Drusilla Hufford, Director of the EPA's Global Programs Division. “In the areas of energy, transportation, land use, education and more, they have exemplified the adage about thinking globally, acting locally.”

    In the early 1990s, Chula Vista pledged to develop a plan to protect the environment by preventing emissions of greenhouse gases. The city formed a citizens' task force made up of business leaders, residents and government stakeholders, which developed a carbon dioxide reduction plan. The plan was implemented and expanded as the city moved into the 21st century. As a result, the City of Chula Vista significantly reduced its energy consumption and stepped up efforts to clean up the environment.

    “The city has been aggressive about protecting the environment, and it's been a community wide effort,” said Rindone. “Over the years, we've been able to balance our environmental goals without impacting our business climate. That's quite an accomplishment.”

    Among Chula Vista's achievements: Master planned communities pave the way for pedestrian friendly neighborhoods; select new homes built under the city's building efficiency program are 15% more energy efficient than state requirements; most of the city's transit buses were converted from diesel to natural gas fuel; and city leaders are actively pursuing fuel cell technology.

    This year's award winners are from four countries including China, India, Korea and the United States. Finalists are chosen by an international panel of experts with the EPA selecting the actual 2003 Climate Protection Award winners.