Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2009

PetCoke opt in to stewardship effort

It is the nature of the news businesses that the biggest emergencies get the biggest headlines. So-called “trend” stories don’t have quite as much impact.

Still, it is news — welcome news — that two Vicksburg manufacturers have further formalized the “go-green” trend and been selected for the new, state-run effort to reward leaders in environmental stewardship over the long haul. It’s especially noteworthy that the two, International Paper Company at Redwood and DTE PetCoke at the E.W. Haining Industrial Center, are among only seven Mississippi industries who are charter members in the enHance incentive program of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

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The environment can be harmed either in an instant — making big news — or over the long-haul — also making news, but only when it’s too late. Prevention is key and a commitment to prevention is what these two companies are showing.

The program has three tiers — associate, steward and leader. To receive the associate designation, an industry must have an environmental policy and management plan, share project information with the state and initiate a project that results in positive effects on the environment.

DTE PetCoke will go one more step and be a steward, and IP will have the top designation, awarded to industries sustaining environmental compliance over time plus conducting community projects and allowing an independent audit of environmental performance.

IP is a major local employer with nearly 300 people working at its local mill. DTE PetCoke employs only eight people, but that doesn’t diminish the significance of being chosen to be exemplary in environmental leadership.

We congratulate these two companies. To have two of the state’s seven charter firms located in Warren County is a point of pride that might not make the biggest headlines now, but their decisions today could avert a big headline in the future.