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Miami favors environment over fossil fuel

MIAMI: March 30, 2017. A day after Donald Trump signed his latest executive order to roll back the Clean Power Act in favor of fossil fuels, Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) awarded Miami International Airport (MIA) its 2017 top award for environmental management.

MIA was acknowledged for one of the largest energy-saving programs in the eastern U.S. Launched in August 2015 with local utility Florida Power & Light, the project is saving 28 million gallons of water per year, reducing carbon emissions equal to 5,110 automobiles annually, and cutting the airport’s utility bill US$40 million over 14 years.

“In addition to being America’s busiest airport for international freight, one of its top international passenger gateways, and a leading economic engine, we are honored to be recognized as a leader in environmental management as well,” said Miami-Dade Aviation director Emilio González.

ACI-NA Environmental award 17“Being an energy-smart airport is also smart business. The US$40 million in savings helps us decrease the operating expenses passed on to current and prospective airlines, which in turn spurs investment at MIA and in our local economy,” he added.

Other ACI-NA winners for 2017 were Indianapolis Airport Authority (Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award); Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission (Special/Innovative Projects Award); Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Mitigation Award); and Detroit Metropolitan Airport as a runner up to MIA for the Environmental Management Award.

As Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt sued the agency he now heads to block the Clean Power Act from taking effect, calling it an “executive fiat” that violates states’ rights.

According to Marilyn Brown, professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech, “In the short term, I think we’ll continue to see good progress on the utility industry front in terms of decarbonizing the grid.”

However she added: “I don’t think we’ll be able to make the kind of advances we need without signaling to the industry a national goal like the Clean Power Plan. Without that, we’re going to see competing patchworks of approaches used around the country. That doesn’t lead to good policy. Uncertainty is bad for business. Even the utilities want to know: What’s the long-term plan for the country for pricing carbon? Once they have that plan in place, they can optimize their business model.”

Pictured: Miami-Dade Aviation Department assistant director Mark Hatfield (center) receives the ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Award in Environmental Management from ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee chairman Rob Hough (left) and ACI-NA Board chairman William R. Vanecek.

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