WEST ORANGE, NJ — The New Jersey Clean Communities Council has awarded its Robert Pellet Leadership Award to Assemblyman John McKeon for his ongoing efforts to promote anti-litter initiatives in New Jersey.
McKeon, a former West Orange mayor who serves as vice-chairman of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, accepted the award at the 14th annual NJCCC conference, held this year in West Orange.
McKeon said it was an honor to receive an award named after Pellet, who died Jan. 4, 2016. Pellet led the NJCCC during its infancy in the 1980s and through his “leadership, commitment and tenacity” helped the council succeed, the assemblyman said.
The Robert Pellet Leadership Award is the most prestigious award of the NJCCC, awarded only seven times in its history, and presented to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing New Jersey Clean Communities and fostering a cleanliness ethic throughout the state.
McKeon was presented the award by last year’s winner, longtime NJCCC treasurer Paul Bontempo.
“Assemblyman McKeon has demonstrated a strong commitment to the program and its goals dating back to the time when he served as mayor of West Orange,” Bontempo said at the event. “His commitment continues to this day.”
In accepting his award, McKeon said the Earth is facing many challenges because of population growth. He noted, in 1820, there were 1 billion people on the planet. Today, there are 7 billion.
“Feeding the Earth and providing clean water are incredible challenges,” McKeon said, noting that state lawmakers in New Jersey recognize the importance of preservation of natural resources, such as with the Highlands and the Pinelands.