Verso Paper Receives Top Environmental Award
Verso Paper, Memphis, Tenn., was recently awarded the 2008 Environmental and Energy Achievement Award from the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) for its work with the Bucksport (Maine) Environmental Innovation Partnership (BEIP). AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman presented the award to Verso President and CEO Mike Jackson at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The BEIP is a collaboration among Verso’s Bucksport Mill in Maine, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Town of Bucksport, the University of Maine, environmental groups and interested citizens created to help the mill further reduce its environmental footprint. “By creating new partnerships and developing new methods to improve air quality, Verso’s Bucksport project slashed emissions, considerably exceeding EPA’s benchmark, and at the same time cut the mill’s water usage and waste output, shrinking their environmental footprint,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.
“Instead of simply doing what’s required, this partnership evaluated the letter of the law for the true spirit of its intent—real, sustained environmental improvement,” Jackson said. “Verso’s commitment to environmental leadership and innovation are important elements in our sustainability strategy,” he added. “By partnering with state and federal agencies, environmental groups and other key stakeholders, we’re able to expand Verso’s ability to explore new, groundbreaking ideas, and to share our decades of environmental expertise to help others meet their sustainability goals. The BEIP represents one of our most successful collaborations to date.”
The BEIP began with an agreement the mill reached with the DEP and EPA to identify and implement a series of plant-wide emissions reduction projects in lieu of previously mandated air emissions control equipment for a gas turbine that was installed at the mill in 2001. The gas turbine had already resulted in a 70 percent reduction in air emissions and significant reductions in solid waste. The mill and DEP agreed that the plant-wide projects would provide greater environmental benefits at a lower cost.