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Environmental Progress - Fall 1998

Director Gade Receives Second National Award for Ozone Issue Leadership

Mary Gade (11K)
Mary Gade

Illinois EPA Director Mary Gade was one of nine women across the nation singled out by Good Housekeeping magazine and the Rutgers University, Eagleton Institute of Politics/Center for the American Woman and Politics, for their first awards recognizing achievements by women in government. The awards will be presented yearly.

Director Gade was cited for her leadership of the Ozone Transport Assessment Group (OTAG), a two-year collaboration involving 37 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 1,000 stakeholders representing industry, environmental advocates and other groups, to address the persistent public health threat from ground-level ozone (smog).

Gade and the other winners were honored at a reception in Washington and profiled in the July issue of Good Housekeeping.

She was nominated for the award by Robert Shinn, environmental commissioner of New Jersey and also an OTAG leader. In the nomination, Shinn noted that "numerous technical and policy barriers and conflicts had to be addressed during the more than two-year OTAG odyssey. As chair, Gade worked hard to facilitate networking and consensus."

"She kept the group focused on the goal when disagreements ...threatened to derail OTAG."

The nomination said of Gade: "She kept the group focused on the goal when disagreements over what computer models to use for the analysis, the pollution source inventory, and other difficult technical issues threatened to derail OTAG. Gade also kept OTAG in the forefront, giving update speeches to major industrial sectors that had a stake in the outcome, such as the World Fuels Conference and the Edison Electric Institute, as well as numerous interviews to the press, including many major newspapers, ABC NEWS and National Public Radio, as well as the avidly interested trade publications, which even included a new Inside OTAG newsletter. She also challenged individual companies, environmental groups and industry associations to step up to the technical challenges and provide their experts."

Gade was previously chosen one of 10 "Public Officials of the Year" by Governing magazine in recognition of her OTAG leadership. Other winners of that award included Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

OTAG completed its work in summer 1997 with a series of major policy recommendations, several of which were subsequently adopted by U.S. EPA. It also compiled the most extensive scientific and technical data base ever on ozone and how it is transported across regions.

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