Cummins, pollinator group earn environmental awards


Cummins Inc. and the Jennings County Pollinator Committee are among the six recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence.

The awards are given for extraordinary initiatives in protecting the environment, according to a news release.

“These awards recognize Indiana’s leaders who have implemented the most innovative, sustainable and exemplary programs or projects,” said Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott.

Pigott and Rebecca Holwerda, senior operations director for Gov. Eric Holcomb, presented the awards recently during the 22nd annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Tradeshow at Marriott North in Indianapolis.

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Columbus-based Cummins Inc. was honored in the Energy Efficiency/Renewable Resources category for “Cummins Virtual Power Purchase Agreement.” Cummins, which is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, entered into a virtual power purchase agreement in August 2017 with EDP Renewables North America to expand a wind farm in northern Indiana, according to the news release.

The expansion is adding 75 megawatts, enough to power about 20,000 Indiana homes, to the existing 600 megawatt capacity at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm complex. The wind farm expansion generates renewable electricity equivalent to the amount Cummins uses at its Indiana facilities.

Jennings County Pollinator Committee, based in North Vernon, was honored in the Land Use/Conservation category for “Share Some Space,” which is about protecting and increasing local pollinator populations in Jennings County. The area of involvement originally was all of Jennings County, but the idea has spread to other groups and communities outside the county.

The project has multiple components: Action, education, media and land use conversion. The partnerships have created community involvement, which in turn has created change and community pride. Since the start of the project in 2015, 800 total habitats have been created throughout the county (including 328 in people’s backyards), a total of 2,500 acres of new pollinator habitat have been created and 7,700 new native flowering plants have been planted, according to the news release.

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