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NHDES Emergency Drought Assistance Team honored

Date: July 01, 2021

The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) awarded the NHDES Emergency Drought Assistance Team with the 2021 EBC Paul G. Keough Environmental-Energy Award for Government Leadership this year for providing emergency relief to New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens during the extreme drought of 2020.

The team created, secured funding for, advertised, and began administering the Emergency Drought Assistance Program for Low-Income Residential Well Owners within two weeks of the Governor’s announcement of the program. The multidisciplinary team included geologists, engineers, environmental scientists, drinking water specialists, accountants, public information specialists and systems analysts from NHDES, and programmers from the state Department of Information Technology.

The program represents the first substantive assistance to residential private well owners in a state where almost 48% of citizens rely on wells for drinking and household water. The program assists these families in achieving resiliency from future droughts with minimal impact on overall groundwater resources in New Hampshire.

Each year, the EBC recognizes companies, organizations, and individuals for outstanding environmental and energy accomplishments in the promotion of a sustainable, clean environment. These awards were established by the EBC to encourage companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and environmental professionals to serve as models for others to emulate and, in doing so, further the mission and objectives of the EBC.

The Paul G. Keough Environmental - Energy Award for Government Service was established by resolution of the Board of Directors on January 4, 1994. The award recognizes the significant contributions Paul Keough made to the environmental and energy industry and is awarded to an organization or individual for outstanding environmental leadership in government service.

Paul Keough (1946-1994) was one of the first employees hired at the EPA Boston office when it opened in 1971. He served the agency for over twenty years, earning accolades as a hard-nosed, energetic bureaucrat with an abiding commitment to the environment. Mr. Keough began at EPA as the agency’s press secretary and spent over 10 years as the deputy administrator for New England. Mr. Keough had an enormous impact on the hundreds of EPA employees he worked within the Region 1 office. He also had a major impact on the thousands of individuals from businesses and industry, New England’s many environmental organizations, and other federal, state, and local government officials with whom he came in contact.

The NHDES Emergency Drought Assistance team and its primary collaborators were recently honored at the virtual EBC Awards Celebration on June 10, 2021.