On August 3, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). As part of the commemoration of the 35th anniversary of SMCRA’s enactment, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) Director Joe Pizarchik presented an inaugural award honoring an individual for promoting the goals of SMCRA.
The award, called the Environment, Community, Humanity and Ownership Award, or ECHO Award, recognizes an individual who, in addition to promoting the ideals and goals of SMCRA, has also advocated the appropriate balance between meeting the Nation’s need for energy without compromising protection of people, the environment, and the surrounding community. The acronym of the award’s name underscores that the passage of SMCRA came after a decades-long struggle, and the hope for that action to reverberate throughout history.
OSMRE chose the inaugural honoree after receiving nominations from OSMRE staff. Nominations and the final choice were based on the individual’s demonstration of one or more of the following attributes:
- Public Service: has shown a dedication to public service
- Sustained Engagement: has accepted difficult challenges requiring strategic, long-term efforts
- Non-partisan: has worked in a non-partisan manner
- Major Contribution: has made a significant and/or unique contribution to carry out SMCRA
- Advocate of the Law: dedication to improved implementation of SMCRA
- Protection of Society: dedication to improving protection of society
- Innovative Solutions: has a record of seeking and achieving positive solutions
- Environmental Protection: dedication to improving protection of the environment
The honoree receives a brushed stainless steel award in the shape of an octagon, which represents each attribute as well as the shape of the Office of the OSMRE Director at OSMRE headquarters. To retain a record of honorees who helped carry out the spirit of SMCRA, a similar version of the award will reside in OSMRE headquarters with the name of each awardee inscribed on its surface.
How to Submit an ECHO Award Nomination
To nominate an individual for the award, prepare a short (2-3 pages) written summary of the candidate’s contributions and explanation as to how he/she exemplifies the award's criteria. Please email nominations to Chris Holmes (email@example.com), by Thursday, May 1, 2014.
2012 - David Clark
David Clark, a state regulatory official and ecologist from New Mexico, received the inaugural ECHO Award in 2012 for his continued work to enhance environmental protection and coal mine reclamation. At the time of the award's presentation, Mr. Clark had served in SMCRA-related positions in Montana and New Mexico for more than two decades and had led the development of geomorphic mine reclamation, a cost-effective and environmentally sound method that returns previously mined land to more closely resemble its closest form and function before mining occurred.
2013 - John Husted
The recipient of the 2013 ECHO award was John F. Husted, former Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management. Mr. Husted served the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management for 35 years, working his way from Reclamation Inspector, to Manager of the Ohio Abandoned Mine Lands Emergency Program, to become Chief of the Division. Throughout his long career, he worked and managed all aspects of SMCRA from the State perspective, earning respect for his problem-solving skills and ability to inspire others. Mr. Husted passed away in 2013, prior to receiving the award.