Clean Water Action Names 2021 Environmental Champions

Friday, April 23, 2021
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PROVIDENCE – Today, Clean Water Action is pleased to name Priscilla De La Cruz, Erika Niedowski, Senator Dawn Euer, RI House Majority Leader Chris Blazejewski, and Representative Lauren Carson as their 2021 Environmental Champions. Additionally, Representative Lauren Carson is this year’s recipient of the David R. Gerraughty Award for Lifetime Commitment to the Environment. They will be honored during the 19th Annual Breakfast of Champions, held virtually this year on Friday, May 14th, 2021 at 10:00am.

Each year since 2003, Clean Water Action has recognized Rhode Islanders that have contributed to the protection and stewardship of the state's natural resources and public health or have led efforts to enact policies that preserve the environment and fight the climate crisis.

  • Priscilla De La Cruz is the Rhode Island Director at Green Energy Consumers Alliance. Priscilla also serves as the president of the Environment Council of Rhode Island and is the co-chair of the Climate Jobs RI coalition. She is being recognized for her work to make environmental justice and equity central to environmental advocacy and policymaking in the state as well as for her efforts to bring access to affordable renewable power to Rhode Islanders through community solar programs.
  • Erika Niedowski was the Northeast Director at the Coalition for Community Solar Access and previously served as the Rhode Island State Director at the Acadia Center. Sadly, Erika passed away from previously undiagnosed Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in October of 2020. She is being recognized posthumously for her work advocating for renewable energy policy and for her passionate dedication to raising the voices and growing the power of frontline communities and organizations.
  • Senator Dawn Euer, Majority Leader Chris Blazejewski, and Representative Lauren Carson are being recognized as Clean Water Action’s Elected Officials of the Year for their sponsorship of the ‘Act On Climate 2021’ legislation, which passed through the Rhode Island House and Senate last month and as signed into law earlier this month.
  • Representative Lauren Carson will also receive the David R. Gerraughty Award for Lifetime Commitment to the Environment. This peer-nominated award is given each year to one member of the environmental community who has made significant, long-term contributions to environmental and public health protections in Rhode Island over the course of their life and/or career.

Representative Carson has spent decades organizing communities to advance environmental and public health protections, including two stints with Clean Water Action from 1985-1992 and 2011-2018. She been a leader on a number of statewide issues including reducing waste, combatting sea level rise, and promoting nature-based solutions for managing stormwater.

In 2014, she was elected to the RI House of Representatives where she has cemented her legacy as an environmental champion. Her legislative initiatives have included the creation of a commission to study climate impacts on tourism, promotion of recycling and composting in schools, and establishing prohibitions on offshore drilling in Rhode Island waters.

Representative Carson was the unanimous nominee for the Gerraughty Award this year. She received nominations from both her colleagues in the environmental advocacy community as well as several members of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Representative Carson is the first person to be named as a Champion twice in the same year, an honor befitting her years of tireless work as both an advocate and a lawmaker.

More information, tickets, and sponsorships are available at:


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. 

Johnathan Berard