On July 16 and before a crowd of nearly two hundred agency regulators, policy makers, and environmental, labor and industry leaders, CCEEB presented Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols with the 2013 Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Award. The award, named on behalf of CCEEB’s founding chairman, honors an individual or organization whose accomplishments most exemplify the spirit of environmental and economic balance.
CCEEB chose Chairman Nichols as the 2013 award winner because of her leadership guiding the successful launch of California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. In particular, CCEEB recognized Nichols’ efforts to protect the environment in a way that still allows for economic development and a strong economy.
“Mary has listened to industry throughout the process, and has done a great deal to address our concerns about technological feasibility, investment leakage and jobs while keeping the state on a path to achieve our ambitious climate and energy goals,” said Gerald Secundy, CCEEB president.
Presenting the award, Winston Hickox, former secretary of Cal/EPA and chair of the AB 32 Market Advisory Committee, praised Nichols by saying, “Mary saw cleaning up air pollution as fundamentally an enterprise whose roots are in social justice – that breathing clean air is a fundamental right. That is the anchor of her commitment, but it is only part of what makes Mary so effective. She understands that the law is only the beginning. She understands how to take the law and translate it into regulations, programs and actions by often large slow-moving government bureaucracies. Mary is the epitome of ‘effective government’.”
Nichols has devoted her entire career in public and nonprofit service to advocacy for the environment and public health. Since 2007, her priorities have included implementation of the state’s landmark climate change program (AB 32), working to curb diesel particulate pollution and passing regulations aimed at providing cleaner air for all of California. In addition to her work at the Air Board, Nichols has served as assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton, secretary for California’s Resources Agency and director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“I’ve known Mary for more than 20 years and have the greatest admiration for her,” said Anne Shen Smith, chairman and CEO of Southern California Gas Company. “Under Mary’s leadership, the State of California is a trailblazer in developing clean air solutions that spur innovation in the marketplace and create a healthy environment for our future generations.”