St. Marys Cement Inc., of Charlevoix, was one of six cement plants that received special recognition for its commitment to improving the environment and its community at the Sixth Annual Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards, presented by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Cement Americas magazine, at the Portland Cement Association's Spring Meeting in La Jolla, Calif., on March 19.
The awards honor individual cement facilities that exemplify the spirit of continuous environmental improvement and support this spirit with action. These plants went beyond government regulations and local laws to ensure that their processes and policies contributed to making their communities better places to live and work.
"The cement industry is dedicated to producing a superior product while continuously challenging manufacturing policies and procedures to minimize our environmental footprint," said Charlie T. Sunderland, PCA chairman and chief executive officer of Ash Grove Cement Company. "The awards program recognizes these ongoing efforts."
Six categories recognized plants throughout the United States and Canada: Overall Environmental Excellence; Outreach; Environmental Performance; Land Stewardship; Innovation; and Energy Efficiency.
St. Marys Cement Inc., of Charlevoix, was honored in the Overall Environmental Excellence category and was runner-up in the Land Stewardship and Outreach categories. The St. Marys Charlevoix plant demonstrates excellence in several aspects of environmental responsibility. In 2006, the plant installed a new indirect firing system that reduced both fuel consumption and emissions. The plant also replaced power plant fly ash with on-site shale, overburden and purchased bottom ash to reduce mercury emissions. Close to a residential area, the facility conducted a noise study that lead to the design and installation of silencers resulting in less noise for the surrounding community. Working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, St. Marys maintained a fish-stocking program for the Chinook salmon fingerlings and worked to encourage the regional resurgence of the bald eagle by constructing nesting platforms on its property. In 2006, the plant launched a local newsletter to inform the local community about environmental projects at the plant.
The awards program was created in 2000 by PCA as part of its renewed environment and energy strategic plan for the U.S. cement industry. PCA and Cement Americas magazine presented the first Cement Industry Environmental Awards in 2002 to the award recipients for 2001. The awards honor activities conducted during the previous calendar year, and the program is open to any cement manufacturing plant in North America. Judges for the awards represent independent groups such as PCA, Cement Americas magazine, the Cement Association of Canada, World Resources Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Wild-life Fund.
Based in Skokie, Ill., the PCA represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs.