WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va., Aug. 29, 2001 – American Electric Power’s Mountaineer Plant at New Haven, W.Va., was one of eight businesses and industries to win one of the 2001 West Virginia Business Environmental Leadership Awards presented today at the West Virginia Business Summit held at the Greenbrier resort.
This is the first year for the Business Environmental Leadership Awards, which are sponsored by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, the West Virginia Economic Development Council, the West Virginia Roundtable and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
Awards were presented to companies that have made significant improvements in the areas of pollution prevention, innovative technology and environmental stewardship. Mountaineer Plant’s award, in the category of environmental stewardship, recognized the plant for having a certified national wildlife habitat that’s been in existence since 1998. Certification is from the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), of Silver Spring, Md., a nonprofit group of conservation organizations, corporations and individuals dedicated to protecting and enhancing wildlife habitats. Created in 1988, WHC helps large landowners, particularly corporations, manage unused lands for the benefit of wildlife.
While recertification for a two-year period is the norm, Mountaineer’s wildlife habitat was certified again in 2000 for a three-year cycle that is designed for companies with exemplary programs.
“We feel extremely pleased and honored to win such a significant award,” said Mike Slider, a technician with Mountaineer’s ash-management group who is currently chairman of the wildlife habitat team at Mountaineer.
“We are proud of the programs and activities that we’ve been able to put together,” Slider said, noting that Mountaineer employees have implemented a number of habitat enhancement projects throughout the 1,200-acre plant site. Plant employees monitor 22 bluebird boxes, as well as kestrel boxes, wood duck boxes and a bat house. Employees teamed up with a Boy Scout troop to build an osprey platform at the site, and a pair of nesting osprey hatched out a number of chicks this year.
The plant has two wildlife food plots where sorghum and buckwheat are grown, providing a food supply for wild turkey, rabbits and deer in the vicinity. In addition, Mountaineer has been involved with the state of West Virginia in planting wildflowers on the site for the past three years.
A rotational mowing scheme is carried out at the plant site, so that there are different heights of grasses to serve as cover for wild animals. Tree planting has also been a part of the overall effort, as some 70 acres of chestnut oak and white pine trees were planted in 1999.
The success of the wildlife habitat project, Slider said, is the result of “a combination of hard-working employee volunteers who enjoy what they do and corporate support. We have a group of about 20 to 25 volunteers on the wildlife habitat team who have been instrumental in its development, and the plant management at Mountaineer has been very generous with both time and resources in allowing us to pursue this activity.”
Activities at the wildlife habitat have also involved a number of community groups, such as the Haer Baer 4-H Club of Point Pleasant, Green Acres Regional Center, and local Boy Scouts of America. Mountaineer and AEP’s neighboring Sporn Plant are in the earliest stages of planning a nature trail for the wildlife habitat that would go through both plants’ properties.
According to the sponsoring groups, the goals of the new Business Environmental Leadership Awards program include setting the bar for others to follow, gaining a cleaner state, encouraging more innovative thinking and actions regarding the environment and profit, building a network for sharing information, and promoting a long-range vision of a sustainable economy and environment for West Virginia.
Allegheny Energy Supply’s Pleasants Power Station, the Crompton Corporation of Sistersville, W.Va., and Tom Seely Furniture in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., were award winners in the pollution prevention category. DuPont’s Washington Works, near Parkersburg, W.Va., Dyna-Tech Adhesives Inc. of Grafton, W.Va., and Dow Chemical Company were winners in the innovative technology category. Quad/Graphics Inc. of Martinsburg, W.Va., joined AEP’s Mountaineer Plant as the winners in the environmental stewardship category.
American Electric Power is a multinational energy company based in Columbus, Ohio. AEP owns and operates more than 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity, making it America’s largest generator of electricity. The company is also a wholesale energy marketer and trader, ranking second in the U.S. in electricity volume with a growing presence in natural gas.
AEP provides retail electricity to more than 7 million customers worldwide and has holdings in the U.S. and select international markets. Wholly owned subsidiaries are involved in power engineering and construction services, energy management and telecommunications.