Lehigh Valley Environmental Conference - A Success Story

On September 20th, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC) along with Avogadro Environmental Corporation and the Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA) held the Lehigh Valley’s First Annual Environmental Innovations Conference. The idea started out small and quickly grew as more and more companies expressed interest in having a conference that was focused on local industries and their successes at environmental innovation, energy efficiency and pollution prevention. The conference was specifically laid out to maximize time and allow for several speakers to be presenting at the same time. The bulk of the day consisted of three breakout tracks each with a broad topic. Each track had six sessions that could be attended.

The morning started out with plenary sessions featuring two PADEP officials, Virendra Trevedi gave the first ever overview of revised Pennsylvania New Source Review Rule Changes and Krishnan Ramamurthy gave an overview of the new PA Mercury Rule and CAIR Rule Implementation Requirements. Both of the presentations sparked further discussions and gave the conference attendees a chance to get some questions answered by the PADEP officials directly involved with these regulatory developments.

Track One, Marketplace Innovations had several speakers, including Scott Morris from Mack Trucks, George Wagner of Flame Technologies and Vince Martin from Lafarge North America. The overall highlight of track one was the presentation given by Vince Martin and Roy Rakiewicz from All4 Inc. on Plastic Derived Fuel (PDF) which is being fired at Lafarge in Whitehall, PA. Lafarge is the first cement facility in Pennsylvania to obtain a permit to use PDF and Mr. Rakiewicz went into some of the specifics regarding the permitting process. Mr. Martin elaborated on the specific plastic being used, how it is used as a fuel and some of the benefits of using PDF.

We were also pleased to have representatives from research and technology development at the Electrotechnology Applications Center (ETAC) at Northampton Community College and the Energy Resource Center at Lehigh University provide us some insights on emerging technologies being explored right in the Lehigh Valley.

Mack Trucks sponsored the delicious lunch where Bob Martin, Senior Manager of Communications, gave an overview of the innovations being taken on at Mack Trucks to go green. Also during lunch Mack sponsored a presentation by Chris Kocher of the Wildlands Conservancy, which gave an overview of environmental issues facing the Lehigh Valley today and what is being done to face those issues. Mr. Kocher had a beautiful and informative presentation especially for anyone who hasn’t grown up in the Lehigh Valley.

Track Two, Regulatory Innovations, was a popular track with such speakers as William Barnes from Avogadro, Chuck Zadakis of the PADEP, and several speakers from All4, Inc. Following lunch John Slade, Colin McCall and Cara Fox from All4, Inc. gave an update on Green House Gas Regulatory Strategies. Also in track Two was a presentation by Keith Williams of the Lehigh Valley Berks Air Quality Partnership. Mr. Williams did a great job of showcasing the rich industrial history of the Lehigh Valley. He also addressed the current state of the air quality in the Lehigh Valley after the 2007 ozone season.

The Third track, Land Recycling, started out with an update by Jill Gaito of the PADEP giving an update of the Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program and ended with a progress report by Ian Fairbairn of the Sands Bethlehem on America’s largest Brownfield Redevelopment Project. The Sand’s presentation was much anticipated and did not disappoint. Ian Fairbairn gave an outline of the project and its current status along with some background on the history of the Sands and there commitment to land redevelopment. The project is in the early stages, specifically site preparation. The casino will be themed specifically to preserve the industrial heritage of the site.

The day was wrapped up by a casual reception sponsored by All4, Inc. that gave everyone a chance to get to know each other better. Overall, the conference was a success and will be held again next year. We invite any and all ideas for next year’s conference. For the second year of the conference, we are considering a panel discussion from industry professional regarding what has worked and what has not worked for their facility. The audio-casts and power points for the conference are available at www.avogadro.net/LVEIC2007.

Avogadro Environmental, GLVCC and AWMA wish to thank all the sponsors who made this event possible demonstrating that there is a strong commitment by industry in the Lehigh Valley and those serving its environmental needs for reducing our footprint on the future.

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