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At the recent 2018 Operations & Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C., AGA recognized more than 20-member companies for their outstanding commitment to safety. Also recognized were individuals who have demonstrated exceptional work in the natural gas industry. Other individuals received Awards of Merit for their active and continuous service to the AGA Operations Section through participation on technical committees, as well as leadership in AGA events. During the awards ceremony, nearly 60 AGA members were recipients of the Merit of Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels, and Lee Reynolds, of NiSource, was also honored with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award, which is the highest-ranking Award of Merit.

Jason Potter, of Consumers Energy, was presented with the Meritorious Service Award – which honors an individual who has saved a human life during the previous calendar year. Potter showed true heroism when he helped an unconscious woman whose car was struck by a speeding motorist. He pulled the woman from the car and applied a tourniquet to her almost severed arm until paramedics arrived on the scene.

Three other AGA member company representatives received the Trailblazer Award for their important work on the evaluation of fire resistant personal protective equipment. Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc. and Atmos Energy were presented with Safety Awareness Video Excellence (SAVE) awards for their videos promoting natural gas communications and safety.

This year’s Operations Conference set a record with 1,300 natural gas operations leaders in attendance. In addition to more than 100 speakers and 120 technical presentations, the conference included AGA’s Burn Off Boot Camp and 5k Fun Run/Walk. The conference kicked off with a community service event where AGA staff and member volunteers worked with the Helping Hand Project to assemble prosthetic hands for individuals across the globe.

The feature article in the August/September issue of American Gas magazine titled, “Carbon Natural,” examines the steps large corporations are taking to show their commitment to having a sustainable future. The article explores how natural gas is playing a significant role in the company’s carbon neutral initiatives – and its benefits both socially and economically.

Earlier this year, global commerce giant L’Oréal USA announced its plans to make its nearly 20 U.S. manufacturing and distribution facilities carbon neutral by 2019. In their quest to increase their carbon neutrality portfolio and become sustainability leaders, the company plans on using renewable natural gas (RNG) to make this goal a reality. Although RNG is more expensive than a nonrenewable natural gas, using this model to create sustainability can potentially support new RNG projects in the future. L’Oréal has a 15-year agreement to purchase 40 percent of the landfill gas in Ashland, Kentucky to begin the process to reduce emissions.

Global giants are focusing on the three-pillar impact: people, planet and profits. Large corporations like L’Oréal are setting the precedent for carbon neutrality and other companies may soon follow the trend of using RNG to support their efforts. Recently, Apple announced that they are using 100 percent renewable energy – and it has been partly due to utilizing RNG on the east coast. In addition, Microsoft built a biogas-powered fuel cell facility – which comes from a municipal wastewater treatment facility. Microsoft also announced their development of the world’s first gas data center that will be connected to natural gas pipes and powered by integrated fuel cells.