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Waxman, Schwarzenegger, McCarthy Receive CARB Air Quality Awards

The California Air Resources Board recently honored recipients of the Haagen-Smit Legacy Awards, which is the state's top award recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving air quality. In honor of CARB's 50th anniversary, it recognized the outstanding contributions the five winners made during a specific decade since the board was created when Gov. Ronald Reagan approved the Mulford-Carrell Act in 1967; the first board meeting was held Feb. 8, 1968.

The recipients are former Congressman Henry Waxman; former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator; Mario Molina, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; and David G. Hawkins, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate Center.

"Our honorees span the past 50 years of progress toward clean air. Each played a leading role in this struggle for clean air and a healthy economy," CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said. "Individually, our honorees have conducted groundbreaking research or shaped pioneering clean-air policies. Together, these five remarkable individuals are being recognized for their leadership, courage, and innovation. Californians owe them a debt of gratitude for their contribution to improved public health in California, across our nation, and throughout the world."

The Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards are given annually to individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions toward improving air quality and climate change science, technology and policy, furthering the protection of public health. In honor of the 50th anniversary, this year's awards are named the Haagen-Smit Legacy Awards; the award is named for the late Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit, known as the "father" of air pollution science and control, and recognizes those who continue his legacy through perseverance, leadership, and innovation in research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service. The selection committee is comprised of past award winners.

  • Hawkins, one of NRDC's first staff members in 1971, is a leader in the development, advocacy, and implementation of sustainable and science-based clean air policies, notably the Clean Air Act.
  • Waxman, chairman of Waxman Strategies, served 40 years in Congress and was a leader in the development of numerous legislative achievements on environmental matters. He was the author of the landmark 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect children from toxic pollution.
  • Molina has done pioneering research on chlorinated gases in the atmosphere and leads the Centro Mario Molina, a Mexican nonprofit focused on finding solutions to environmental challenges including climate change and air pollution.
  • Schwarzenegger supported the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006; in 2011, he co-founded R20, a global nonprofit of subnational governments and regional leaders working together to address climate change and build a green economy, and in 2012 he partnered with the University of Southern California to launch the USC Schwarzenegger Institute to continue his work on policy initiatives he championed during his two terms as governor.
  • McCarthy, professor of the Practice of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment, was EPA administrator from 2013 to 2017.
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