FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
Freeholder H. James Polos,
Chair, Public Works and Transportation Committee


County Wins Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award

Countywide Sustainability and Energy Efficient Plan Cited


December 11, 2009 – Middlesex County received the 2009 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Sustainable and Healthy Communities in recognition of its leadership role in environmentally friendly programs and policies throughout the state.

It was one of 10 awards given as part of the 10th anniversary of the state environmental award program.

“I am proud to shine the spotlight on these people and projects that are making a world of difference in communities across New Jersey,” said Gov. Jon S. Corzine. “Throughout the Garden State, people are rolling up their sleeves and doing remarkable things because they truly care about protecting their environment, helping their neighbors, and making New Jersey a better place to call home.”

“The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders is at the forefront of sustainability because we recognize the environmental and economic benefits of safeguarding our natural resources,” said Middlesex County Freeholder H. James Polos, who spearheaded many of the County’s environmentally friendly and sustainable initiatives and who accepted the award at a ceremony at Drumthwacket, the official residence of the New Jersey Governor.

“My fellow Freeholders and I are committed to offering our residents a high quality of life,” said Freeholder Director Stephen J. “Pete” Dalina. “Our beautiful parks, our outstanding services and our policies that emphasize a clean environment help us provide our residents a great place to call home.”

The award recognized Middlesex County for developing the state’s first County Sustainability plan, providing assistance to schools and municipalities with the implementation of green technology and establishing Green Economic Development Zones to create green collar jobs and stimulate economic development. Freeholder Polos added, “The policies we are establishing today will have a positive impact on future generations by helping to insure that our economy and environment is healthy and vibrant.”

Among those programs are the Middlesex County Showroom of Environmental Technology, a program Polos created three years ago through which the County coordinates resources and facilitates information between state agencies and local officials in order to boost local efforts to obtain grant funding and program support from the State Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
“The Freeholder Board consistently strives to establish programs and policies that protect the environment while at the same time, offer effective, efficient service to our residents,” Polos said.

Ever since 2001 when it first began retrofitting its fleet with hybrid vehicles, Middlesex County has taken a very proactive role in enacting “green” policies.  The County will have 60 hybrid vehicles in its fleet by the end of the year, and is currently participating in the state's Local Government Energy Audit program, which checks the efficiency of the lighting, heating and cooling systems in public buildings and helps pinpoint ways to save energy and cut costs. 

In 2007, Middlesex County also was recognized as the Clean Energy Leader by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.