Energy, mine activists win U.S. environmental prizes

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2011 2:51 PM
Energy, mine activists win U.S. environmental prizes

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An ex-stuntman fighting for improvements at petrochemical plants and a renewable power developer who saw Chernobyl as a "wake-up call" are among the winners of a prominent U.S. prize for environmental activism.

The six Goldman Environmental Prize winners were announced on Monday ahead of a ceremony in San Francisco where they will each receive $150,000.

Ursula Sladek, a mother of five from Germany's Black Forest region, says the local effects of Russia's Chernobyl nuclear disaster drove her and partners to set up a cooperative that now supplies renewable power to 100,000 homes and businesses, according to the official prize website.

Hilton Kelley is a former U.S. Navy man who went on to perform stunts in TV shows and movies in California before returning to his native Port Arthur, Texas, to seek greater protections for people living near petrochemicals plants.

On opposite sides of the Pacific, two of the winners battled drinking water pollution in their respective countries: Francisco Pineda, who sought to protect water from gold mining in El Salvador, and Prigi Arisandi for his efforts to mitigate industrial pollution of Indonesia's Surabaya River.

The other winners include Russia's Dmitry Lisitsyn, who fought to protect Sakhalin Island from oil and gas development, and Raoul du Toit for his efforts on behalf of the threatened black rhino populations in Zimbabwe.

The prize, started in 1990 by Richard and Rhoda Goldman to encourage environmental protection, has been given to activists in 80 countries over the past two decades. The 1991 winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, also won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall; Editing by Greg McCune)