Robert E. Hughes
EPCAMR Executive Director
Robert has been the Executive Director for the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) since 1997. He has worked with numerous planning committee partners to coordinate and co-host 19 annual state-wide conferences on Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AMR) and Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) remediation (www.treatminewater.com). This effort started with an Anthracite Region conference on AMD in 1996 to bring many partners together to address PA’s number one “non-point” source of pollution.
Robert has spoken at several National conferences on EPCAMR projects and the organization’s ability to leverage funding, manual labor, financial resources, and business and private interests. EPCAMR serves as a liaison and project coordinator between the myriad of state, federal, and local agencies to complete hundreds of AMD remediation projects. Robert graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in May 1995 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Resource Management and a concentration in water pollution control technologies, specifically in abandoned mine drainage and hydrogeology.
In 2010, Robert won two 40 under 40 Awards from The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Times Leader, respectively. He was recognized as a young environmental leader who is helping to protect and improve the Commonwealth’s environment and communities.
In March of 2009, Robert became the youngest recipient of the William W. Jeanes Award for Environmental Excellence on behalf of his commitment and dedication to AMR and AMD remediation in the Susquehanna River Basin. He is only one of six awardees to receive this prestigious award, which is presented by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to honor individuals who make significant contributions to protect the water quality of the Susquehanna River Basin.
In October of 2007, Robert was awarded the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast Environmental Partnership Award for his work outside of his full-time job, serving his hometown of Avondale Hill and the surrounding smaller Anthracite mining communities located in Plymouth Township, PA. Robert has served as the appointed volunteer Planning Commission Chair for the Plymouth Township Planning Commission since 2001. Through this position, he worked with numerous partners to conduct community cleanups, illegal dump site surveys, historic preservation projects, community garden projects, and coordinate River Festivals along the Susquehanna River, from 2001 to 2010, to improve the quality of life in and around his hometown.
Also in 2007, Robert was awarded the Ted G. Daniels Community Development Award and the Luzerne County Historical Society’s Annual Historic Preservation Award for his work on the Avondale Hill Industrial Art Preservation and Community Gardens Project.
In March of 2005, Robert was chosen by the American Institute for Public Service and the Times-Leader as the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Community Service for his work in cleaning up abandoned mine lands in Plymouth Township and his volunteer efforts to rally residents and area youth to participate in annual cleanup events in the Wyoming Valley, as a member of the Wyoming Valley Watershed Coalition.
In May of 2005, Robert accepted the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals Karl Mason Award on behalf of EPCAMR for their work in the region on AMR, AMD treatment, environmental action projects, education and community outreach, and for his partnership and collaboration with regional stakeholders and watershed groups through Northeastern PA.
In 2003, Robert and his co-worker, Michael Hewitt, authored and created an AMD Activity/Coloring Book for elementary-aged school children, which allows area youth to understand PA’s local geology and water quality impacts due to abandoned mines located throughout Northeastern PA. The book is available for free distribution through EPCAMR’s website at www.epcamr.org.