GM Orion Assembly Earns Governor's Praise for Environmental Stewardship

Contact: Susan Shafer (517) 335-6397

September 24, 2002


Governor John Engler announced today that General Motors Orion Assembly Center has been designated as Michigan’s 52nd Clean Corporate Citizen. Russell J. Harding, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, presented the GM Orion Assembly Center with the Michigan Clean Corporate Citizen Certificate on behalf of the Governor today.


Governor Engler proposed the voluntary Clean Corporate Citizen program in his 1996 State of the State address to recognize facilities that demonstrate environmental stewardship.


"I congratulate the entire GM Orion team for this accomplishment," Engler said. "Michigan’s economic future relies on environmentally responsible auto facilities that combine consumer-driven production with strong and effective waste minimization. The Lake Orion Assembly Center demonstrates that managing for environmental protection benefits their community and their bottom line."


Automobiles for the Buick, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile lines are produced in the 3.6 million square foot assembly building located on 82 acres in northern Oakland County. GM Orion Assembly Center has also earned International Standards Organization 14001 certification, meeting the voluntary international standard for environmental management systems. They were awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "Project of the Year" award in 1999 for innovative use of landfill gas for fuel, reducing the need for non-renewable resources by over 50 percent. Their ash recycling program has earned a "We Care" award from General Motors for material conservation and pollution prevention. That program has saved over 32 million pounds of ash from being landfilled since 1998 by reusing it in potting soil, turning a waste into a safe and beneficial product.


"We are proud to be a leader in changing the way we all think about our precious resources," said Orion Assembly Center’s Plant Manager Jamie Hresko. "Our concern for our surroundings has resulted in a unique approach toward a healthier environment. A couple of examples include using methane gas from a neighboring landfill to help heat and cool our facility, thus reducing pollutants released to the air, and working together with our UAW Local 5960 members to establish a very successful recycling program, further reducing the volume of waste disposed of at the landfill. These initiatives, along with many others, demonstrate to our employees, neighbors and community, that we care about the environmental performance of this plant, and that we strive to continually improve."


"I think it’s an honor to be the first production plant in GM to be given this C3 designation. Without the worker’s participation, diligence, and true concern for this community and the environment, this could not have been achievable," said Pat Sweeney, president of UAW Local 5960.


To qualify as a Clean Corporate Citizen, candidates must adopt a strong environmental management system, a facility-specific pollution prevention policy and program, and have a consistent record of compliance with applicable environmental requirements.


Clean Corporate Citizens are eligible for certain benefits under the state air quality permitting program, including expedited permits and additional operational flexibility. Designations are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.


The facility also has voluntarily joined the Department of Environmental Quality as a partner in the Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partnership, according to Harding.


"Orion Assembly Center’s Clean Corporate Citizen achievement is an excellent example of the value of voluntary partnerships between Michigan’s businesses and state government," said Harding. "The team’s commitment to protecting the environment through responsible environmental management and pollution prevention has earned them this designation. Their environmental stewardship in the community is to be commended."