Press Release

NCEL Recognizes Five State Legislators for their Dedication to Environmental Issues

August 7, 2020



NCEL Point of Contact

Taylor Anderson
Communications Director


On August 6, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) recognized five state lawmakers for outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues. NCEL presented Georgia State Representative Park Cannon and New Mexico State Representative Angelica Rubio with the Rising Environmental Leader award. 

NCEL also presented Minnesota State Representative Rick Hansen, North Carolina State Representative Chuck McGrady, and Washington State Senator Christine Rolfes with the Leon G. Billings Environmental Achievement Award. 

The awards were presented at NCEL’s seventh annual National Forum, which took place online August 6-7. The forum was attended by more than 200 attendees from 39 states.

The Rising Environmental Leader Award recognizes state legislators who demonstrate strong leadership on environmental issues early in their legislative careers. The Environmental Achievement Award is presented to state legislators in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues. Each awardee was selected by the NCEL Board of Directors, most of whom are state legislators.

Rising Environmental Leaders

Elected in 2016, Representative Park Cannon has been an active member of NCEL, attending national events, and serving as the 2020 State Lead for Georgia. She is recognized for her leadership on advancing clean energy issues, especially prohibiting offshore drilling, as well as prioritizing environmental justice and energy equity.

Representative Angelica Rubio joined NCEL shortly after her 2016 election. She has been a leader both in New Mexico and within NCEL through her work on outdoor recreation and environmental justice. She is recognized for her leadership in creating the nationally recognized Outdoor Equity Fund and for her work on ensuring a just energy transition in New Mexico. 

Environmental Achievement Awards

As a long-time member of NCEL, Representative Rick Hansen has been a champion on conservation issues and served as a resource and mentor for his colleagues across the country. He is recognized for his national leadership on pollinator protection and conservation issues including river protection through the Mississippi River Legislative Caucus.

Representative Chuck McGrady has been an invaluable member to both NCEL and the North Carolina legislature. He is recognized for his leadership in creating bipartisan compromise and consensus around environmental issues including first in the nation coal ash legislation. 

As an active NCEL member, Senator Christine Rolfes has championed energy and environmental health issues and provided lessons learned to her colleagues across the country. She is recognized for her leadership on coastal protections, working to ban toxic chemicals, prevent plastic pollution, and her conservation efforts to protect Orca whales, among many other achievements on conservation and the environment.

The NCEL Board of Directors named the Environmental Achievement Award as a memorial to the organization’s founder, former Maryland Delegate Leon G. Billings, who first organized NCEL in 1996. Billings is also widely known as the U.S. Senate staffer responsible for writing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in the 1970s.

Created by and for state legislators, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes over 1,000 environmentally committed state legislators from all 50 states and both parties. NCEL provides venues and opportunities for lawmakers to share ideas and collaborate on environmental issues.