WEST LONG BRANCH – The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will honor two former New Jersey governors, Thomas Kean and James Florio, and four others who have worked to protect the shore and marine environments at the 14th Annual Coastal and Ocean Champion Awards on Tuesday, October 9. The event, which is open to the public, will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of New Jersey’s Coastal Management Program and recognize several individuals who have made significant contributions to its success over the years.
The UCI will present its highest honor, the National Champion of the Ocean Award, to the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, represented by its honorary co-chairs, Govs. Florio and Kean. The Alliance was formed in 2011 as a network of partner organizations dedicated to enhancing New Jersey’s capacity to plan for and respond to a changing climate. The Alliance has focused on climate change preparedness in key impacted sectors, including public health, watersheds, rivers, coastal communities, built infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources.
In addition to his leadership on the Alliance, Kean was known as a strong advocate for New Jersey’s coast while governor from 1982-90. He led an effort to successfully oppose a federal proposal for offshore oil and gas development off the coast of New Jersey, signed legislation curbing overdevelopment in waterfront areas, and crafted a joint plan with then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo to end ocean dumping.
Florio was an environmental leader as a member of Congress from 1975-90, authoring legislation that launched the Superfund Program and working to ensure the passage of the Medical Waste Tracking Act. As governor from 1990-94, he strengthened penalties for industrial water polluters and permanently ended the practice of dumping sewage sludge in the ocean.
“New Jersey is lucky to have had two true ocean champions serving during what may have been our beaches’ greatest hour of need,” said UCI Director Tony MacDonald. “Governors Kean and Florio worked tirelessly to combat pollution problems that posed serious threats to public health and the Jersey Shore’s economy in the 1980s and early 1990s. Today, their leadership of the Alliance will ensure protections for future generations and that New Jersey is prepared to adapt to climate impacts. Their actions have set a standard for all governors to work across party and state lines in support of healthy beaches and marine environments.”
The UCI will also present its Coastal and Ocean Leadership Award to David Kinsey and John Weingart, who were instrumental in the design, 1978 approval and early implementation of the Coastal Management Program; former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Mark Mauriello, who spent his career at the agency as an advocate for coastal conservation and management of coastal hazards; and Rutgers University Professor Emeritus Norbert Psuty, a coastal geomorphologist whose long and distinguished career helped build a greater understanding of the history and evolution of the Jersey coast, and the impact of development on its natural processes.
The Champion of the Ocean Awards were established in 2005 to honor individuals who have helped ensure coasts and oceans are clean, safe, sustainably managed and preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Past honorees include former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta, ocean explorer Robert Ballard, marine biologist Sylvia Earle, oceanographer Jean-Michael Cousteau, and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.
The reception will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at historic Wilson Hall. The cost is $100 for individual tickets, with proceeds to benefit the UCI and student research scholarships. For tickets and more information, visit www.monmouth.edu/uci.
About the Urban Coast Institute
The UCI was established in 2005 as one of Monmouth University’s “Centers of Distinction.” The UCI’s mission is to serve Monmouth University and the public interest as a forum for research, education and collaboration in the development and implementation of science-based policies and programs that support stewardship of healthy, productive and resilient coastal ecosystems and communities.