NCEL Recognizes State Legislators for their Dedication to Environmental Issues
August 13, 2019
On August 3 and 4, 2019, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) recognized three state lawmakers for outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues. NCEL presented Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb and Washington State Representative Debra Lekanoff with the Rising Environmental Leader award, and New Hampshire Senator David Watters with the Leon G. Billings Environmental Achievement Award. The awards were announced at NCEL’s sixth annual National Forum, which took place August 2-4 in Nashville, Tennessee. The forum was attended by 152 legislators from 39 states.
The Rising Environmental Leader Award goes to members of the Caucus who demonstrate strong leadership on environmental issues early in their legislative careers. The Environmental Achievement Award goes to a member of the Caucus for their outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues. Each awardee was selected by the NCEL Board of Directors, which is comprised of a majority of sitting state legislators.
Following his election in 2016, Representative Rabb immediately became an active and engaged participant in NCEL. In 2017, Representative Rabb was a founding member of the Pennslyvania Climate Caucus. He continues to lead efforts to establish a carbon price and transition to 100% renewable energy in Pennsylvania. He also has introduced legislation as part of the Zero Waste PA package to reduce plastic and other pollutants in the state. He works to combine environmental and social justice issues.
Representative Lekanoff was elected in 2018 and just concluded her first year in the Washington legislature. She successfully passed legislation to protect orca populations in Puget Sound. Her bill increases the safety of oil transportation throughout the Sound ensuring protections of orcas and the ecosystem as a whole. Her work also continues to increase environmental justice support to communities impacted by air pollution.
Senator Watters has been an active NCEL participant and has presented at several NCEL convenings. He has led efforts in his state to establish a Coastal Hazards and Risk Commission, implement a model Wildlife Corridors program, increase renewable energy through net metering and carbon pricing, to name just a few of his many environmental accomplishments.
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.