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As director of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition—part of the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment—Jonathan Overly has helped usher in a number of improvements to the region’s eco-infrastructure, from car charging stations to alternative fuel vehicles.

Jonathan Overly_OverlyThose efforts have earned recognition from the state’s highest office, as Governor Bill Haslam has named the coalition one of this year’s recipients of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.

“This a tremendous honor—not just for our team but as recognition for everything our office does and all the partners we work with,” said Overly. “We’ve made many strides to foster a more sustainable Tennessee in recent years, and this recognition helps energize us to continue those efforts.”

The award recognizes those whose efforts protect Tennessee’s scenic beauty, promote environmental education, or improve the overall environment.

It dates back to efforts begun by the state’s Department of Environment and Conservation in 1995, but many of the program’s aspects reach back even further, to the Award for Excellence in Hazardous Waste Management started by then-Gov. Lamar Alexander in 1986.

Categories have changed over the years, but the basic goal is to shine a spotlight on people, businesses, and organizations committed to keeping Tennessee scenic.

A nomination must address a number of questions, including:

  • Innovation: Did the nominee have to think outside the box?
  • Leadership: How well did the nominee bring together various elements?
  • Adaptability: Can the nominee’s work serve other applications or capacities?
  • Impact: How much of a difference did the nominee’s work make?

In Overly’s case, the nomination was made by Governor’s Chair for Environmental Biotechnology Terry Hazen.

“East Tennessee Clean Fuels’ partnerships with regional fleets are having an impact on air quality, from biofuels to the use of natural gas,” said Hazen. “This work improves air quality, fuel economy of vehicles, and idling technology. Nominating them was an honor.”

Overly and other recipients of this year’s awards will be recognized at an honors luncheon in Nashville on Wednesday.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,