East Coast Awards
AEHS FOUNDATION ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy is proud to bestow the AEHS Foundation Achievement Award each year to individuals or organizations who have shown significant contributions to the field as well as outstanding environmental stewardship.
Martin Suuberg was appointed on January 8, 2015, as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) by Governor Charles D. Baker and the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Matthew A. Beaton.
With over 30 years of experience working in environmental and natural resource agencies at the state and federal level, Martin is a lawyer and manager who has effectively and efficiently administered the Commonwealth’s environmental laws that protect the quality of life for all Massachusetts’ citizens.
Among his achievements are leading MassDEP’s efforts to establish drinking water and contaminated site cleanup regulatory standards in 2019 and 2020 for certain PFAS chemicals, and since then leading efforts to implement the testing, reporting and follow up requirements for public water systems. This work has included coordination with USEPA and with a state legislatively established task force working to develop legislation to further address issues raised by PFAS contamination, and continues as our collective understanding of the effects of these chemicals grows.
In 2016-17, at the request of the Governor and with the support of the Treasurer and the Clean Water Trust, Martin led MassDEP’s successful development and implementation of the Massachusetts Assistance Program for Lead in Schools, a first in the nation effort to assist public schools and public early education and childcare facilities to test for, report and address lead and copper in their facilities’ drinking water with a focus on children’s health protection. This effort, still ongoing, has resulted in tests at over 1000 school facilities and over 70,000 taps tested in those schools. The program provided not only for testing, but with DEP’s partners at UMASS, technical help for schools that identified issues through this program.
On Climate Change related work, Commissioner Suuberg served in 2020 and 2021 as the Chair of the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – an effort aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. This innovate program helps reduce emissions and has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for Massachusetts to invest in energy efficiency and clean power.
Since 2019, Commissioner Suuberg and his colleagues at MassDEP have worked closely with the Governor’s Office and the Secretary of Energy and Environment to lead multi-state discussions designed to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
Martin currently chairs the Glyphosate Commission established by the legislature to evaluate the potential impacts of glyphosate and its most common alternative herbicides on the environment and public health.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin provided leadership and ensured continuity in operations within MassDEP by implementing new strategies to deliver services to the public while operating within the parameters of evolving health guidance. As part of the COVID response, the Commissioner chaired frequent, regular calls with water and wastewater facility operators to address operational and regulatory issues. These calls have continued as an effective way for regulators and the community that provides clean water to Massachusetts to engage on a variety of topics.
Throughout his time as Commissioner, Martin has placed a high value on collaboration with cities and towns, who he regularly describes as important partners in protecting public health and the environment. He has actively engaged with a variety of stakeholders to improve communications on
many topics and has developed regular programs with organizations to help develop training opportunities.
Martin’s career has been largely in the field of environmental and natural resource protection. He has served numerous roles in MassDEP, in the Secretary of Environment’s Office, in land managing agencies at the state and federal levels. In that time, he has understood, valued and worked to foster partnerships between government and the many stakeholders that work on or are affected by the work of our agencies.
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