ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sep 13, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, a first-of-its-kind partnership of corporations and environmentalists announced a new initiative designed to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay region. Leading competitive natural gas and electricity supplier Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES), renowned environmental organization the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, transportation logistics firm J.B. Hunt Transport Services, and clean energy pioneer Sterling Planet, have joined forces to launch CleanStepsSM Carbon Offsets, a new feature of WGES' natural gas supply service that includes a newly created Carbon Reduction Fund.
"We have been offering creative energy supply options to our customers in the mid-Atlantic region for nearly 15 years," said Harry Warren, President of WGES. "CleanStepsSM Carbon Offsets brings a new, environmentally-friendly product feature to our natural gas customers and is part of our broader corporate commitment to clean and efficient energy solutions."
When customers choose WGES as their natural gas supplier, a portion of their natural gas usage is matched with CleanStepsSM Carbon Offsets. Customers can also choose to match 100% of their natural gas usage with CleanStepsSM Carbon Offsets.
Greenhouse gas emissions are an unavoidable result of our modern lifestyles - driving a car or keeping our homes comfortably cool or warm - and are part of our "carbon footprint". On the other side, balancing out these emissions, are carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are an easy, effective way to help restore nature's balance.
Carbon offsets will come from clean air projects that result in greenhouse gas reductions, as well as other local and regional benefits. In addition, funding will be provided to the newly established Carbon Reduction Fund, administered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The fund will be used to develop new carbon offset projects that also promote the health of the Bay.
Initially, a major source of carbon offsets will be those created by J.B. Hunt through their industry-leading program to reduce long-haul trucking mileage by shifting freight to more efficient rail transportation. "By transferring containers from trucks to trains, we not only reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, but we also improve local air quality and reduce traffic by putting fewer trucks on busy highways," said Gary Whicker, Senior Vice President, Engineering Services for J.B. Hunt.
The Carbon Reduction Fund will be supported by contributions from both Sterling Planet and WGES, contributions that will reach over $200,000 per year when WGES's current customer base transitions to the new standard offer. The funds will be used by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to plant trees along rivers and streams that feed into the Bay, and to work with area farmers to implement new agricultural practices that reduce toxic runoff. "Every seedling planted in the Chesapeake Bay region helps to clean the air we breathe and improve the water quality in our rivers, streams and the Bay," said William C. Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "This partnership is a great example of putting action behind words and creating tangible results," he added. "We are excited to be a part of this market-driven solution that engages corporations, non-profits and energy customers in addressing global and local problems."
"This innovative, ground-breaking partnership is just one example of how we can bring diverse enterprises together to benefit the environment in a way that makes sound business sense for all involved," noted Mel Jones, President and CEO of Sterling Planet. "We are proud to see this unique partnership come to fruition, supporting existing carbon-reduction projects and also funding new projects that will continue to benefit the environment for years to come."
Learn more about CleanStepsSM Carbon Offsets at www.cleansteps.com/offsets.
Thanks to WGES and Sterling Planet, this press announcement will be carbon neutral, and the facility will be powered with renewable energy.
To view a live webcast of the media announcement or a recording post event visit http://www.wges.com/announcement.
About the Partners
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) is one of the largest and most experienced natural gas and electricity suppliers in the mid-Atlantic region with over 300,000 customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. WGES is a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: WGL) and is an affiliate of the natural gas utility, Washington Gas.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the only independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated solely to restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers. Across the six-state Chesapeake watershed, CBF sets the agenda, serves as a watchdog, and speaks out on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay to business, government, and the public.
Sterling Planet has been a national leader in innovative clean energy solutions since 2000. The first company with a nationwide retail offer of wind, solar, biomass and other forms of renewable energy, Sterling Planet has delivered billions of renewable energy kilowatt-hours in both voluntary and mandated markets. Clients include more than 100 utility partners, as well as multinational corporations, government agencies, educational and nonprofit institutions, and individual consumers. Sterling Planet also offers carbon offsets to counteract greenhouse gas emissions and White Tags(R) energy efficiency certificates, which the company introduced to the U.S. in 2006.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT), one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America, provides safe and reliable transportation services to a diverse group of customers throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Utilizing an integrated, multimodal approach, J.B. Hunt provides capacity-oriented solutions centered on delivering customer value and industry-leading service.
SOURCE: Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
Alicia Moran, 410-991-7027
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