Fort Collins environmental services director honored with EPA award

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Lucinda Smith

Fort Collins Environmental Services Director Lucinda Smith won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency honoring her contributions to air quality work in the community.

The EPA recognizes one individual each year with the Thomas W. Zosel Outstanding Individual Achievement Award. The agency gave the award to Smith this year in recognition of her contributions to the city’s Air Quality Plan and her leadership of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which set a goal for Fort Collins to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Smith has been with the city since 1996, a time when it was “somewhat unique” for a mid-size city of about 100,000 people to have dedicated air quality and climate action programs, City Manager Darin Atteberry said as he offered Smith his congratulations at a Tuesday City Council meeting.

Her work first targeted vehicle tailpipe emissions but quickly broadened to include a range of air quality programs related to monitoring, public awareness and emissions reduction. She led city efforts in 1999 to adopt Fort Collins’ first greenhouse gas reduction goals, which ultimately evolved into the current goals to reduce emissions by 20% of 2005 levels by 2020, 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Fort Collins projects that it reduced emissions by 17% of 2005 levels in 2020.

For subscribers:Fort Collins got mixed results on 2020 climate goals. What does that mean for 2030 goals?

Smith is retiring later this year after 25 years with the city. 

“She’s an amazing professional and an amazing human being, and she’s going to be missed tremendously,” Atteberry said. “This award is not a surprise to anyone who’s worked with Lucinda.”

In brief remarks to council, Smith said the award is “an incredible honor” that reflects “the long commitment to environmental sustainability that Fort Collins has had.” She said she’s witnessed air quality and climate work become increasingly integrated in city planning efforts.

“I have been so blessed to work with amazing colleagues in the city and partners in the community, and while this particular award was directed at me, I feel like it’s shared by all who work on these issues,” Smith said. “I’m so grateful for the team I’ve gotten to work with over this long history. There’s a lot more ahead, and I feel that there’s a great team in place to keep working on it.”

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Jacy Marmaduke covers government accountability for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @jacymarmaduke. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.