Three Maine DEP Air Staff Honored For Environmental Leadership

May 16, 2011

Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson/Director of Education and Outreach / 287-5842 (office) or 592-0427 (cell)

-Deb Avalone-King and Beth Otto were presented an Environmental Merit Award from EPA for the Maine’s Green Schools Program and Lynne Cayting received a Leadership Award from the Northeast Diesel Collaborative-

AUGUSTA – Three staffers from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are being honored this month for their commitment and creativity in preserving New England’s environment.

Deb Avalone-King and Beth Otto, staff in Maine DEP’s Bureau of Air Quality, were presented an Environmental Merit Award last week in Boston from EPA’s New England Region Office for the Maine Green Schools Program.

The program, a collaboration between Maine DEP and the Maine Energy Education Program, encourages elementary and secondary schools in Maine to become more energy efficient by providing students and faculty the tools and training needed to survey and then reduce the facility’s energy use.

In addition to empowering students to be environmental stewards through education and engagement in the process of understanding and then working toward energy efficiency, the program has been able to help schools with funding for audits, upgrades or employee training. In 2010, more than 30 schools participated in the program.

This year’s award marks the first for Otto and the third for Avalone-King, who was most recently honored in 2008 for her work toward reducing bus diesel emissions as part of the Maine Clean School Bus Team.

Leadership in the reduction of diesel emissions has also led to an award for Lynne Cayting, who directs the Mobile Sources Section also within the Bureau of Air Quality.

Cayting was bestowed one of three leadership awards by the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, a partnership between the EPA, eight Northeast states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and a variety of private and nonprofit entities, that works together to reduce diesel emissions, improve public health and promote clean diesel technology.

The Leadership Award is given to the individual or organization whose actions best reflect the goals of the collaborative, including the retrofit and replacement of older diesel engines, the reduction of idling from diesel engines, the creation of education and outreach opportunities for diesel emission reduction strategies and the promotion of cleaner fuels above and beyond local, state and federal requirements.

Cayting was cited specifically for her leadership in effectively managing the state’s share of federal funds to support the Mobile Sources Section’s efforts in reducing emissions from Maine’s school buses, fishing boats, construction equipment and municipal vehicles, resulting in better public and environmental health in the state.

Vehicle emissions are the largest in-state source of ozone pollution in Maine, contributing three-quarters of the nitrogen oxide emissions and dangerous levels of particulate matter (soot) and airborne toxic chemicals.

“I think it is wonderful that EPA and others are recognizing Debbie, Beth and Lynne for their hard work and creativity that we at the department have long been proud of,” said Jim Brooks, acting commissioner of Maine DEP and the director of the Bureau of Air Quality since 1995. “These three are leading some of the nation’s most innovative programming when it comes to making our air cleaner and safer for the public and for our environment.”

For more information about the Maine Green Schools Program, visit For more information about the Maine Mobile Sources Section and its efforts to reduce diesel emissions, visit