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Business Wire: International Grassroots Environmental Heroes Honored on Capitol Hill

EXTRACT: Europe: Willie Corduff, 53, Ireland: In the small farming community of Rossport, Corduff and a group of fellow local residents and landowners successfully forced Shell Oil to halt construction on an illegally-approved pipeline through their land.

Published: May 01, 2007

Pelosi, Boxer, Members of Congress welcome and honor the 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize winners, recipients of the world’s largest prize for grassroots environmentalists

Goldman Environmental Prize Natalie Silverstein, 415-345-6330 [email protected] or Allison & Partners Tim Black, 415-277-4920 [email protected]

At a luncheon last week with Members of Congress and other dignitaries, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) honored the six 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize recipients on Capitol Hill. Addressing the gathered crowd, Pelosi connected the grassroots environmental leadership of the Prize winners to the work House Democrats have begun to protect the environment.

“It is with wonder and awe at the tremendous accomplishments and incredible bravery that I join you today to salute the Goldman Prize winners. Their conviction and their courage are an inspiration. In the face of overwhelming odds, sometimes even putting their own lives at risk, they stand up for their communities, for justice, and for the environment,” said Pelosi.

“Here in Congress, my Democratic colleagues and I are fighting to ensure that the United States assumes an international leadership role in supporting the environment and environmental justice,” Pelosi said. “To that end, this Congress is committed to fighting for cleaner air, cleaner water, and the preservation of natural resources and threatened wildlife.”

The 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize was awarded on April 23, 2007 at the San Francisco Opera House, and the recipients were honored again at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. on April 25. As part of their Prize tour, the recipients, hailing from Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Zambia, Peru, and Mongolia, travel from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the press and leaders in government and NGOs.

The $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, now in its 18th year, is awarded annually to six grassroots environmental heroes and is the largest award of its kind in the world.

This year’s winners are:

North America: Sophia Rabliauskas, 47, Canada: Working on behalf of the Poplar River First Nation, Rabliauskas succeeded in securing interim protection for a portion of the boreal forest of Manitoba, effectively preventing destructive logging and hydro-power development, while calling on government and international agencies to permanently protect the region.

Africa: Hammerskjoeld Simwinga, 45, Zambia: In Zambia’s North Luangwa Valley, where rampant illegal wildlife poaching decimated the wild elephant population and left villagers living in extreme poverty, Simwinga created an innovative sustainable community development program that successfully restored wildlife and transformed this poverty-stricken area.

Asia: Ts. Munkhbayar, 40, Mongolia: Munkhbayar successfully worked with government and grassroots organizations to shut down destructive mining operations along Mongolia’s scarce waterways. Through public education and political lobbying, Munkhbayar has effectively protected Mongolia’s precious water resources from additional unregulated mining.

South & Central America: Julio Cusurichi Palacios, 36, Peru: In the remote Peruvian Amazon, Cusurichi secured a national reserve to protect both sensitive rain forest ecosystems and the rights of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation from the devastating effects of logging and mining.

Europe: Willie Corduff, 53, Ireland: In the small farming community of Rossport, Corduff and a group of fellow local residents and landowners successfully forced Shell Oil to halt construction on an illegally-approved pipeline through their land.

Islands & Island Nations: Orri Vigfusson, 64, Iceland: With business savvy and an unwavering commitment to reverse the near-extinction of wild North Atlantic salmon, Vigfusson brokered huge international fishing rights buyouts with governments and commercial interests, helping bring to an end destructive commercial salmon fishing in the region.

About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1990 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman. It has been awarded to 119 people from 70 countries.

Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Previous Prize winners have been at the center of some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, including seeking justice for victims of environmental disasters at Love Canal and Bhopal, India; leading the fight for dolphin-safe tuna; fighting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and exposing Monsanto’s role in introducing the rBGH hormone into the US dairy industry.

Since receiving a Goldman Prize, eight winners have been appointed or elected to national office in their countries, including several who became ministers of the environment. The 1991 Goldman Prize winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

ATTENTION EDITORS: Detailed biographical information and photographs of all winners are available at www.goldmanprize.org/2007media. Also available are broadcast-quality video and audio of the winners in their home countries. Additional information about the Prize and previous winners is at www.goldmanprize.org.

 

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