Thursday, July 2, 2009

Governor Kaine Praises Green Business Coalition

Chamber's Joyce Waugh (right), Cool Cities' Diana Christopoulos welcome Gov. Tim Kaine (center)^
Gwen Mason hands Gov. Kaine one of her "portable ashtrays," a symbol of the Clean & Green campaign^

Gwen Mason shares a thought with Gov. Tim Kaine^

Story/Photos by DAN SMITH

Gov. Tim Kaine was in Roanoke today to offer support and congratulations to a business coalition for going beyond the call of business.

Kaine's "Renew Virginia" tour, which is visiting communities for a variety of reasons, offering support and encouragement for a variety of activities, ranging from education to transportation to--in Roanoke's case--environmental stewardship.

Roanoke's Clean and Green campaign, which includes commitments from a group of the Valley's largest employers to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and clean them up (resulting in a 13 percent reduction among this group in the first year) caught the governor's attention. "Environmentalism has gone to the top of the public imagination," said Kaine to a substantial gathering at the State and City Building, Roanoke's first LEED-Certified office comples. "I've done a number of events on the Renew Virginia trip," he said, "but this is my first one like this. This is a big commitment from Roanoke's business community and I want the rest of the state to know about it."

Among those participating was Diana Christopoulos of the Cool Cities Coalition, a Roanoke-based group that is getting statewide exposure and interest for its environmentalism

The businesses involved in the first year of the campaign include AECOM, Carilion, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, Virginia Western Community College, J.M. Turner Construction Company, RGC Resources, Lanford Brothers Construction, SunTrust Western Virginia, Orvis, Steel Dynamics, Berglund Automotive and Fralin & Waldron.

Joe Crawford of Steel Dynamics said that his company, which makes all of its steel products from recycled materials, said the idea of reducing its environmental impact was only marginally successful--since its impact is relatively low already--but that the attenti9on "makes us pay greater attention to what we are doing." He said that the steel produced at Steel Dynamics "uses a third of the energy required to produce iron ore."

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