Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Covanta Energy Announces Community Outreach, Environmental Justice Policy

Covanta Energy Corporation, owner and operator of Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects, announced the release of its Community Outreach and Environmental Justice Policy at their facility in Chester, Delaware County on Wednesday.
Prepared in response to the need to ensure all communities, especially communities which are disadvantaged, have a fair and just opportunity to participate in the decision making process in matters impacting their local environment, this policy codifies the efforts that Covanta has already undertaken in the communities in which it has or will have facilities.
The new policy provides a tangible commitment by Covanta to engage fully with these local communities, to reduce discharges and minimize emissions and to do this in a manner which ensures meaningful involvement by those communities.
"We are pleased to announce the adoption of our policy in Chester, Pennsylvania, alongside Reverend Horace W. Strand, chairman of the Chester Environmental Partnership. Our involvement and operations in Chester have helped us to understand the importance of a comprehensive environmental justice strategy and how to effectively interact with communities. Reverend Strand's success with the Chester Environmental Partnership has clearly demonstrated the benefits when all parties work together," said John G. Waffenschmidt, vice president for environmental science and community affairs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines Environmental Justice (EJ) as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.
"This action on behalf of Covanta ensures that citizens residing in the communities where we have facilities, regardless of their background, will have meaningful involvement and a seat at the table when it comes to the public decision-making process for issues that may impact their way of life," continued Waffenschmidt.
Covanta works closely with communities during the operational phase of a facility's existence. A structured process is utilized to provide the opportunity for early knowledge and meaningful involvement by potentially impacted communities. This proven approach has led to successful and enduring community/industry relationships.
In every community in which Covanta operates, the company seeks to build stronger ties via participation in local activities such as community cleanups, environmental fairs, educational outreach, and participation in civic organizations.
Developed with input from a variety of EJ experts, the new Community Outreach and Environmental Justice Policy released today reaches beyond these types of programs, extending Covanta's commitment to involving local citizens in major permit activities that the company may be considering in a given community at a given point in time.
"This is a great occasion and honor to have Covanta select our meeting to make this public announcement, and it reflects the outcome of many years of productive collaboration between the industry and the community. This is indeed historical and anyone committed to environmental justice should be proud to be a part of this event," said Reverend Strand.
The Chester Environmental Partnership was founded in 2005 by Reverend Strand in an effort to improve health and the environment through cooperative action. The CEP is a broad-based organization with representation from the community, Chester City Government, Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. EPA Region III, Covanta Energy Corporation, local businesses, churches, non-profit organizations, Swarthmore College, Widener University, Crozer-Chester Hospital, and a number of developers.
Covanta's Energy-from-Waste facilities provide a safe, sustainable waste disposal method that reduces greenhouse gases and produces clean, renewable energy from municipal solid waste.
A copy of the policy is available online.

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