How Cities Like Chattanooga Can Alter the National Discussion

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(From the Chattanooga Times Free Press) “A group of national business and environmental leaders last week honored Chattanooga’s economic development agency for bringing Volkswagen to what was formerly one of the most polluted sites in the South.
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J.Ed. Marston, vice president of marketing and communication for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Volks-wagen project was “a green plant, producing a green product in a green city.” “Basically, Chattanooga made the intangibles tangible,” Marston said.
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Volkswagen built its $1 billion plant, which will produce its Passat, on the site of what was once the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant, a TNT manufacturing center built to help defeat Nazi Germany and the Axis powers in World War II. When the Army ceased munitions production after the Vietnam War, the military left much of the 6,700-acre site contaminated in its soil and in water underground.
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But after an extensive cleanup, the bunker-dotted landscape was converted into a series of walking and biking trails, as well as a ‘green’ industrial park for Amazon and Volkswagen and its suppliers. The award ceremony was designed to bridge the perceived gap between environmental activists and business leaders, who are sometimes seen as taking opposite stands on cleaning up the environment.
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“What we think, and one of the reasons we do this type of award, is there’s a civil discussion that has to start with many communities and filter its way up through to Republicans and Democrats in Washington,” said Chris Carmody, executive director for the Institute for Sustainable Development. Though some companies have pursued market-driven green projects as a way to stay one step ahead of regulators, Carmody sees sustainable practices as good business.
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“Chattanooga is a national example of why good business practices and good environmental practices should go hand in hand,” he said. “We hope Chattanooga’s story gets told all over the country and has an impact on decision-making in Washington.”
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The honor was conferred by the Institute for Sustainable Development, Partners for Livable Communities and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.”
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For the full article by Ellis Smith for the Times Free Press, please click here.
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The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus
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