Environmentally-conscious businesses and organizations are encouraged to apply for the 2012 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award.

The award is open to any Pennsylvania business, government agency, educational institution, individual or farm that has created or participated in a project that promotes environmental stewardship and economic development in the state. Eligible projects include environmental technology innovation, clean energy innovation, pollution prevention and resource efficiency, community revitalization, environmental outreach, and watershed stewardship, among others, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

"This award is a gem because it recognizes environmental innovation, which makes a business or organization more competitive and efficient," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "The winners are creating a brighter and cleaner future for all Pennsylvanians. We want to showcase them as role models and say, 'Thank you.'"

Projects will be evaluated based on applicants' demonstration of their environmental and economic impact, teamwork, public service, environmental education and outreach, pollution prevention, and the use of innovation technology. The project must have been completed between Aug. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2011. While each candidate may submit only one application for a particular project, companies with multiple facilities may submit an application for each facility. Past winners may submit applications for new projects. Applications for the award can be accessed at www.dep.state.pa.us under the "Public Participation" tab by clicking the link "Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence." Projects should be submitted by 5 p.m. on Jan. 30, via email to RA-EPgovenviroawards@pa.gov. For assistance with the application, please call 717-783-8727.