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Meet Flint Hills Resources

August 1st, 2017

Congratulations to Environmental Initiative on celebrating 25 years of bringing partners together to help solve environmental problems. We are excited to be one of those partners for more than a dozen years! As a founding sponsor of Project Green Fleet, a collaborative effort with Environmental Initiative to install pollution control equipment in thousands of Minnesota school buses, heavy-duty trucks and other diesel vehicles, we couldn’t be more proud of the positive impact this program has made in our communities.

This award-winning, voluntary program has taken off and has some pretty impressive accomplishments, including:

  • Installing pollution control equipment on 3,200 school buses
  • Retrofitting, repowering or upgrading more than 1,300 heavy-duty diesel engines, including trucks, transit buses, trains, and construction equipment
  • Reducing emissions the equivalent of removing 750,000 cars from the road annually

 

 

Not only is Flint Hills Resources proud to partner on Project Green Fleet, but we are also a member of Clean Air Minnesota, a group of businesses, units of government and environmental organizations convened by Environmental Initiative to develop a set of strategies to clean up the air through proactive, voluntary approaches.

As a refinery that has reduced total onsite emissions in 11 of the last 15 years, and whose emissions per barrel are approximately 19% lower than other U.S. refineries, we are continuously working to improve our environmental performance.

Thank you, Environmental Initiative, for bringing stakeholders together to work toward voluntary solutions for a cleaner environment. Flint Hills Resources values your work and is honored to have a seat at the table.


Each month, we feature information about one of our members on the Initiative blog and on our website. Contact Sacha Seymour-Anderson anytime at 612-334-3388 ext. 8108 to learn more about this membership benefit.

POSTED BY:

Community Relations Director, Flint Hills Resources

The Fierce Allegiance of Clean Air Minnesota

February 27th, 2017

Once upon a time, a group of organizations faced daunting air quality challenges. In 2001, the Twin Cities area experienced its first smog alerts in more than 30 years and the region nearly exceeded federal air quality standards. Rather than seeing it as a conflict laden, zero-sum situation, these individuals and organizations seized the moment to engage in a constructive dialogue. In a single event, our partners came together, but not as adversaries. Instead, they engaged and brought their different perspectives, voices, and skills to the table to achieve a common goal.

The Beginning of Clean Air Minnesota

Recognizing and valuing the common good of voluntary, pro-active action, a number of new and long-time Environmental Initiative partners used this dialogue to create Clean Air Minnesota (CAM). Each organization had to overcome their own internal challenges to participate. Yet, each could see the greater value of collaborative engagement, so they pushed their comfort levels and stuck with it.

Together they identified cost-effective and environmentally-sound ways to reduce emissions, decrease exposure, protect public health, and avoid economic and societal costs of violating air quality standards. Everyone had a different reason for supporting the effort.

We talked a lot—especially in those early days. We had to reconcile and balance conflicts between various emission-reduction project options, the desired returns of health benefits, and the realities of economic costs. We had rural and metro disputes. We confronted differences over technologies, costs, and ease of implementation related to emission reductions derived.

All the while, everything had to be voluntary. Our region violated no federal requirements; no one had to do anything. Ultimately, our partners’ fierce allegiance to this public-private partnership delivered simultaneous health benefits, emissions reductions, and jobs.

Clean Air Champions—Then and Now

These first partners, Mike Robertson with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Lee Paddock from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, David Thornton with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Mike Hansel with Flint Hills Resources, each played their part and worked to their strengths for the good of the partnership. Each gave up some level of control, but gained more in their collective actions. This group was truly living our values of “courageous innovation” and working “better together.”

The fierce allegiance to collaboration by our partners led to Project Green Fleet and cleaning up every eligible school bus in Minnesota, dozens of heavy-duty diesel engines, and even a few trains and tow boats. More recently, we’ve launched Project Stove Swap, which is also a change-out project, only for wood-burning devices. We also have been able to run the Clean Air Assistance Project, which helps small and medium-sized businesses find economical ways to reduce emissions.

As with CAM’s founding, it’s time for some constructive collaboration and action. We need to face the challenges of this time, stand as a beacon, and get down to some old-fashioned Environmental Initiative-style project work. We need to step up our efforts and expand the impact of emission reduction activities.

We need a new set of champions with that same fierce commitment to our mutual, common cause. We need to recognize and accept the risks– and, equally value and reap the rewards of collaboration. In these uncertain times, we should all be doing everything we can to advance this still unique and valuable public-private partnership and realize our common goals of cleaner, healthier air, as well as the associated economic gains.

Who will model earlier CAM champions? Who will step forward to lead together today?


A note from Environmental Initiative:
In honor of Environmental Initiative’s 25th birthday, members of our staff will take turns throughout the year highlighting the organization’s most influential and effective collaborators. We want to say thank you to the amazing people who help us achieve all we do.

Bill Droessler

POSTED BY:

Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

Flint Hills Resources: Member of the Month

June 3rd, 2016

The Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery, located in Rosemount, produces transportation fuels used throughout the Midwest, including most of Minnesota’s gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel, as well as other products such as propane and asphalt. Pine Bend is among the cleanest, most efficient oil refineries in the country. It has reduced total onsite emissions in 11 of the last 15 years, and its emissions per barrel are approximately 19% lower than other U.S. refineries.

Flint Hills Resources and its employees partner with a variety of local organizations where they contribute their expertise, time and resources to benefit the community. Environmental Initiative one of those organizations.

Flint Hills Resources is a founding sponsor and ongoing supporter of Project Green Fleet, a collaborative effort with Environmental Initiative to install pollution control equipment in thousands of Minnesota school buses, heavy-duty trucks, and other diesel vehicles. In 2014, Flint Hills provided a $1 million donation which allowed us to complete Project Green Fleet’s school bus retrofit program (3,000+ buses) and expand the program to other diesel-powered equipment.

Now we are retrofitting construction equipment and even tugboats! Becky Sue, a riverboat used on the Mississippi River, received upgrades to its 600-horsepower engines which push barges in Saint Paul’s harbor. This effort reduced emissions equivalent to removing 12,000 cars from the road each year. Exciting milestones have happened and continue to happen with this award-winning voluntary program.

Flint Hills is also an Environmental Initiative award winner for its work to restore 1,650 acres of natural prairie and oak savanna known as the Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area along the Mississippi River. This area provides critical habitat for both resident and migratory animals and is a migration corridor for millions of songbirds and 40% of North America’s waterfowl and shorebirds. In addition, Flint Hills’ 30-year collaboration with Ducks Unlimited has resulted in 36,000 acres of restored wild rice lake habitat, 144,235 acres of wetland protection and restoration, 54,097 acres of grasslands protection, and five miles of sensitive shoreline protection.

Together, Environmental Initiative and Flint Hills have made meaningful contributions in Minnesota. To learn more about the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery, visit PineBendRefinery.com.

Sacha Seymour-Anderson

POSTED BY:

Development Director

Project Green Fleet’s Video Debut

December 3rd, 2015

Project Green Fleet is a great story. A pilot scale effort to clean up a handful of school buses grows into a statewide campaign – with more than 4,600 cleaner diesel vehicles as a result. None of it would have happened without the hundreds of fleet owners, equipment manufacturers, installers, project funders – and of course a little creative risk-taking. But, don’t take my word for it…

Thanks to the generosity of Flint Hills Resources and the creativity of our friends at Goff Public, we’re thrilled to share this short video, which wonderfully captures the Project Green Fleet story – from where we’ve been to the new roads (and rivers) ahead.

I’m also excited to announce we’ll be working with Mathiowetz Construction over the next several weeks to replace a bulldozer. The replacement equipment is certified to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest emission standard – reducing fine particulate matter by 86% – or the equivalent of removing almost 500 cars from the road.

In addition to Environmental Initiative’s efforts, our partners at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) are now offering about $270,000 in federal grant funds to help diesel fleet owners retrofit or replace their old engines. Grant funds will pay for 25% – 50% of the total cost to retrofit or replace diesel equipment. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2016. Learn more & apply »

Project Green Fleet is just one of several voluntary emission reduction projects that have been designed and conceived by members of the Clean Air Minnesota partnership. This diverse coalition of public and private sector air quality leaders has committed to a 10% reduction in man-made sources of fine particulate matter and ground level ozone precursor emissions. This is a BIG goal that will require significant financial investment from both the public and private sectors. If you’re interested in supporting Project Green Fleet financially – through a corporate sponsorship or a grant, please contact me to learn more.

Stay tuned for more good air quality news to come – our work to reduce diesel emissions is far from over.

Bill Droessler

POSTED BY:

Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

With school buses complete, Project Green Fleet aims to help construction fleets reduce diesel emissions

August 14th, 2014

This past August we celebrated the completion of retrofitting Minnesota’s school bus fleet with pollution control equipment at a press conference at the Science Museum. We also announced our plans for the future — working with construction companies to reduce emissions from large, off-road diesel vehicles like loaders, cranes, and bulldozers. A big thanks to the MinnesProject Green Fleet partners in front of school busota Pollution Control Agency, Flint Hills Resources, and the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota for participating in the event and for partnering with us on this important project.

Below are links to the media coverage we received as well as the press release so you can learn a little more about what we’re up to:

Bring Me the News
August 29, 2014
Minnesota ahead of the curve (again) on air quality »

Finance & Commerce
August 19, 2014
Making construction equipment run cleaner »

CBS Local – WCCO
August 14, 2014
Program makes greener school buses via retrofitting »

Star Tribune
August 14, 2014
Project Green Fleet passes school
bus test »

Minnesota Public Radio
August 14, 2014
‘Green Fleet’ says all old Minnesota school buses running cleaner »

(more…)

Emily Franklin

POSTED BY:

Director of Communications

Meet Our Members: Flint Hills Resources

February 3rd, 2014

Environmental Initiative is excited to announce its first member of the month:  the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery.  Located in Rosemount, Minn., Pine Bend is a leading producer of transportation fuels used in the upper Midwest.  It has also been an Environmental Initiative member for more than a dozen years.Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Refinery

Flint Hills Resources is a primary sponsor of the Environmental Initiative’s Clean Air Minnesota, which focuses on bringing businesses, nonprofits, and governments together to explore new opportunities for collaboration that will improve air quality in Minnesota.  It is also a founding sponsor of Project Green Fleet, our groundbreaking initiative to install pollution control equipment in thousands of Minnesota school buses, heavy-duty trucks, and other diesel vehicles.  Since the project began in 2005, it has earned a national Clean Air Excellence Award and has been recognized by the EPA as a national model for improving air quality.

This summer, we will complete the final 90 school bus retrofits in Minnesota.  And now, with an additional $1 million donation by Flint Hills Resources, we can focus on reducing particulate matter and ground-level ozone from other diesel vehicles, such as trucks, transit buses, trains, and construction equipment.

Thank you to Flint Hills Resources for all that you have done to support outstanding air quality in Minnesota!

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A note from Environmental Initiative: We’ll be featuring information about one of our members each month on the Initiative blog and on our website. Contact Sacha Casillas at 612-334-3388 ext. 101 to learn more about this membership benefit.

Sacha Seymour-Anderson

POSTED BY:

Development Director

3,500 Retrofits and Counting!

June 15th, 2012

With all the news these days about the possibility of tightening federal air quality standards, I am proud to be part of a team that helps bring voluntary, quantifiable and proactive emissions reductions to our great state of Minnesota. It is refreshing to see a viable and successful program working with private businesses, local municipalities, fellow nonprofit organizations as well as state, federal, local and tribal units of government to bring good things to the state. (more…)

Eric David

POSTED BY:

Program Manager, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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