2009 Climate Action Plan

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From this document you will learn the answers to the following questions:

  • What did the 2009 Climate Action Plan of Houston Community College produce?

  • What does the HCC use its CAP to meet?

  • What is one of the ways that HCC has implemented district - wide recycling initiatives?

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1 2009 Climate Action Plan

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3 Houston Community College 2009 Climate Action Plan TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements Houston Community College Demographic Executive Summary Introduction Campus Emissions Mitigation Strategies Implementing Energy Conservation Measures Recycling / Waste Minimization Educating Relevant Stakeholders on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Education and Community Outreach Efforts Financing Tracking Progress Conclusion Appendices Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C

4 Acknowledgments The Houston Community College (HCC) 2009 Climate Action Plan (CAP) factors the collective input of administrators, faculty, staff, and students, as compiled and produced by the HCC Office of Government Relations and Sustainability. This work product represents an affirmative step by the institution, its governing board and chancellor, to help promote both climate neutrality and a sustainable future. A comprehensive listing of contributors to the final work product appears at Appendix A. Houston Community College Demographic HCC is one of the nation s largest community colleges. As of Spring 2009, HCC has over 60,000 students enrolled, consists of 38 separate physical facilities and covers 623 square miles. Since its opening in 1971, more than 1.3 million students have improved their lives through education and training obtained from HCC. An open-admission public institution, HCC awards associate degrees and certificates in academic studies and career and technology programs. HCC is committed to meeting the needs of its diverse communities, providing academic courses for transfer to four-year institutions, terminal degrees and certificates in more than 70 fields of work, continuing education and corporate training, lifelong learning and enrichment programs, and the largest adult education program in Texas. HCC is governed by a nine member board of trustees and guided by the day-to-day leadership of Dr. Mary S. Spangler, the chancellor. Its vision: be the most relevant community college in the country the opportunity institution to every student we serve essential to our community s success. Consistent with its vision, HCC will work to promote the tenants outlined in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) relating to climate neutrality and use its CAP as a guide to meet relevant objectives. Executive Summary This writing represents the first CAP produced by HCC. Its primary purpose is to serve as a guide to HCC in promoting climate neutrality and sustainability. The CAP addresses HCC s greenhouse gas emissions and provides mitigation strategies designed to help reduce the same. It also identifies HCC s belief that education and community outreach are central to promoting climate neutrality and sustainability. As demonstrated by the HCC Board of Trustees actions, HCC has sufficient funds to begin addressing climate neutrality that aligns with its strategic plan and commitment as a signatory to the ACUPCC. Moreover, recognizing that what gets tracked gets measured, HCC will use an internal tracking matrix to assess specific action items and relevant outcomes. HCC will also continue to use the Clean Air Cool Planet (CA CP) emissions calculator to track changes in its greenhouse gas emissions. Introduction Like other ACUPCC signatories, HCC seeks to model ways to eliminate global warming emissions. To help guide our efforts, HCC provides this document, its CAP, which is critical to helping promote a climate neutral environment, advancing sustainable practices, and helping our students achieve future career goals. Moreover, consistent with its Strategic Plan and the ACUPCC climate neutral initiatives, HCC commits to engage faculty to create unique and innovative curricula that prepare students to think, learn, and act globally. To help achieve the collective ACUPCC goal of promoting climate neutrality, 1 HCC embarked upon an initial three-prong approach that includes (1) becoming more energy efficient by operationally developing sustainable green projects, (2) programmatically exposing its students to potential green jobs, and (3) leveraging existing and new partnerships with other entities committed to minimizing the negative impact on the environment. Achieving these goals is critically important to the environment and to HCC, as we actively pursue climate neutrality and a more sustainable future. 1 For purposes of the ACUPCC, climate neutrality is defined as having no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to be achieved by minimizing GHG emissions as much as possible, and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions. 1

5 Campus Emissions HCC s gross (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) and net carbon emissions for the period 2001 to 2008 are 1,176,705 metric tons. As an initial step to help advance our commitment to reduce our carbon emissions, HCC elected to use the CA CP emissions calculator to conduct an emissions inventory. The input and outcome of our CA CP inventory positions HCC to implement strategies later identified in the CAP that will help us reduce our carbon emissions. For informational purposes, it is important to identify that the HCC greenhouse gas emissions inventory is inconclusive due to the absence of reliable systems capable of capturing relevant data. Therefore, HCC s emissions outcomes are correspondingly inconclusive. Nonetheless, the HCC emissions data, as captured and recorded, represents the best information available to us that provides a starting point to identify gaps in our tracking systems while also permitting HCC to provide meaningful information in this and future modified CAPs. The reader should also consider that some findings result from reasonable assumptions made about certain information sought (e.g., commuting by faculty and staff, diesel fuel usage). HCC factored the following emissions sources to determine its greenhouse gas emissions: 1. Direct Transportation 2. Purchased Electricity 3. Faculty/ Staff Commuting 4. Student Commuting 5. Solid Waste Immediately below is a graphical representation of HCC s baseline greenhouse emissions: 2 HCC eco 2 Emissions Metric Tons Thousands Emissions Years The graph represents findings from the period 1991 to 2008 as it relates to HCC s carbon emissions. HCC elects to focus on the data from the period 2001 to 2008 acknowledging that it encompasses a broader range of emissions sources from which to more effectively assess the information and identify changes in our carbon footprint. HCC s net carbon emissions over the 2001 to 2008 period average 93,916 metric tons. The high and low for the same period is 119,303 and 76,746 metric tons, respectively. The upward trends depicted in the graph (See years 2001, 2002 and 2006) are consistent with HCC s student population growth and expansion of facilities over the relevant period. 3 These factors, in part, likely explain the corresponding upward trends in our carbon emissions. However, one must also consider other relevant dynamics (e.g., absence and implementation of a climate action plan, comprehensive energy analysis, and a master plan for growth) that are likely contributing factors to the rise in our carbon emissions. The trend increases lead one to reasonably assume that as HCC grows so does its carbon emissions. 2 See to examine the process for conducting an emissions inventory. 3 The source of these factors is the HCC Institutional Research Department. Year eco2 Net Emissions 2

6 Notwithstanding the above-identified information and assumptions, the central finding of the CAP is the need to ensure that the greenhouse gas emissions inventory is accurate and conclusive. This requires HCC to diligently install adequate systems that capture relevant and complete information that ultimately allows one to assess the variability of data trends (e.g., a central repository of information, perpetual capturing of data, and establishing accountability). Another tool that will aid HCC s efforts to advance climate neutrality is its energy analysis. HCC engaged Chevron Energy Solutions (CES) to conduct a Comprehensive Energy Analysis (CEA) of its buildings. In addition to helping with campus emissions, the main goals of the CEA project are (1) identify energy conservation measures that will reduce energy consumption and provide long-range infrastructure benefits to HCC, (2) provide savings associated with specific capital improvements in the facilities, and (3) provide a reliable cost estimate associated with the energy conservation measures. 4 The analysis encompassed 38 HCC buildings covering an area of 2.3 million square feet. In addition to providing a means by which HCC is able to reduce its campus emissions, the HCC/CES analysis effectively identified a potential cost savings of $5 million over a 5-year period. Factors contributing to the reduction of campus emissions and identified savings opportunities include better utilization of lights, temperature control systems, air handling improvements, water conservation measures, monitoring and management of equipment and mechanical systems. The findings also revealed that HCC could save an additional $200,000 annually by implementing a plan to better utilize classroom space. Additionally, the energy analysis revealed an opportunity to enhance energy savings by adding cogeneration 5 of electricity for emergency support. Mitigation Strategies HCC intends to achieve climate neutrality by implementing mitigation strategies recognizing that overall success depends on our ability to modify our strategies to meet potentially changing conditions. To date, these strategies include (1) implementing identified energy conservation measures as presented in our CEA, (2) establishing district-wide recycling initiatives, and (3) educating relevant stakeholders about the benefits of helping to reduce the adverse impact of greenhouse gas emissions. 1. Implementing Energy Conservation Measures The process of implementing energy conservation measures is a critical factor in reducing HCC s carbon emissions. Accordingly, HCC will examine the outcome of its Greenhouse Gas Report and subsequently initiate energy conservation measures as part of its mitigation strategy. These strategies, referenced in the CEA, include the following: Improve space comfort for the students, staff and visitors Reduce operating hours of equipment, extending the life of existing systems Upgrade facility infrastructures to extend the current value of the facilities by increasing the life expectancy of the existing building systems Upgrade/ replace older inefficient equipment to remove the burden on the staff and future replace costs Implement energy conservation measures that support reductions in operating cost Specific strategies include but are not limited to: fluorescent lighting conversions, consolidating building usage schedules, retrofitting HVAC systems, installing classroom occupancy sensors, and incorporating boiler control modifications among other measures. These are both cost effective and energy efficient. The recommended energy conservation measures represent an 11% overall reduction in utility costs. 6 This includes an 11% reduction in electricity costs, a 10% reduction in fossil fuel costs (natural gas, steam and chilled water, combined) and a 12% reduction in water/sewer costs. 7 The implementation of the CEA begins in Fiscal Year 2010 and will continue until all facilities receive upgrades and retrofits. 4 HCC Comprehensive Energy Analysis, July 2008, at pg 1-1, as prepared by Chevron Energy Solutions. 5 A process by which an industrial facility uses its waste energy to produce heat or electricity (The American Heritage College Dictionary Third Edition). 6 HCC Comprehensive Energy Analysis, July 2008, at Section 1-2, as prepared by Chevron Energy Solutions. 7 Id. 3

7 Additional existing conservation measures that HCC presently employs include the following: Use of debit cards for financial aid disbursement purposes Use of ImageNow System (minimization of paper) Paperless payroll Paperless attendance rosters Paperless board agenda Recycling at certain colleges (e.g., computers, furnishings, office supplies) Substantially paperless in Fleet Management Department Substantially paperless in Asset Management Department relating to annual inventory Use of Go-To-Meeting remote meeting management to reduce travel, piloting in the Division of Extended Learning Online employment applications for faculty and staff 2. Recycling/ Waste Minimization HCC has long understood the need to implement recycling into its operations. In fact, many of its colleges (e.g., Coleman, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast) have implemented successful recycling programs. However, the missing component is having a well designed recycling program that benefits the entire HCC system. Though implementing a recycling program district-wide has been challenging due to our size and other relevant factors (e.g., 38 separate physical facilities in three counties spanning 623 square miles), HCC will implement a districtwide recycling program beginning Fall Recycling at HCC presents an opportunity to reduce strategically our production of waste and help promote sustainable practices while also reducing our carbon emissions. The program strategies will include the following: Perform a waste assessment analysis Produce a waste steam report (quantity, type, etc.) Identify opportunities for waste steam reduction Identify return on investment for the institution and environment Develop an employee education and training program The immediate above-identified mitigation strategies and the implementation of the same demonstrate the willingness of HCC to become better stewards of our collective resources and the environment. Moreover, it is this willingness that created the atmosphere to advance a cohesive mitigation strategy to reduce our carbon emissions with the help of 3,890 HCC employees and more than 60,000 students. 3. Educating Relevant Stakeholders on Greenhouse Gas Emissions HCC believes it is vital to educate all relevant stakeholders (e.g., faculty, staff, students, and the community) on the detrimental effects of greenhouse gas emissions. This education process and mitigation strategy is a critical factor in promoting climate neutrality at HCC, the community it serves, and the global environment. Moreover, due to its sheer size, one of the largest community colleges in the country, HCC identifies this as an opportunity to provide leadership by equipping others with the knowledge that positions them to actively engage in the collective quest to promote climate neutrality. This mitigation strategy allows HCC to act as a change agent as it works to reduce its carbon footprint and promote climate neutrality. 4

8 Education And Community Outreach Efforts Education and community outreach efforts are central to HCC s plan to promote climate neutrality. Accordingly, HCC will factor each of these considerations going forward. Education From an education perspective, HCC seeks to expose its students to pathways that promote climate neutrality and sustainability. Additionally, HCC commits to ensuring that its students receive the necessary competencies and skills to transition into an evolving workforce where employers are implementing sustainable practices into their operations. First, in an effort to expose its students to pathways that promote climate neutrality and sustainability, HCC is creating an environment that fosters a positive clean air culture and integrates eco-literacy throughout the college system. In addition to providing course work that accomplishes this objective, HCC is similarly identifying new ways to engage its students. From a programmatic and certification perspective, HCC has several courses that include: Solar Energy Technology (PV&TH), Wind Energy Technology, Certified Green Supply Chain Professional, Principles of Green Buildings, and Senior Certified Sustainability Professional. This non-exhaustive list of courses either directly or indirectly relate to promoting climate neutrality and sustainability. 8 Anticipated non-programmatic opportunities that enable students to gain relevant exposure include: Participation in Earth Day, RecycleMania, the HCC Clean and Green committee, and establishing a web presence that promotes climate neutrality and sustainability. HCC will also proactively work with students to establish a student advisory committee designed to further the objectives of becoming climate neutral and produce a newsletter that addresses this important matter. Second, HCC seeks to ensure that its students have the requisite competencies and skills to transition into the evolving workforce where employers are implementing sustainable practices into their operations. To accomplish this objective, HCC is identifying critical industry needs to ensure that its students effectively transition into the workforce and meet its changing demands. To further facilitate the above, HCC is proactively partnering with numerous local entities in both the public and private sectors (e.g., Texas Workforce Commission, City of Houston, The Greater Houston Partnership, Shell, Chevron, Texas Medical Center, and other industry advisory boards). These partnerships link HCC and its students with employers and allow for the design of relevant coursework for today s job market. To promote relevant educational and training opportunities, HCC received $1.16 million from Houston Galveston Area Council and anticipates receiving an additional $2.5 million from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to generate a center for green energy education and training. These awards offer fast track training to individuals pursuing careers in green jobs. Another educational benefit is the development of the Texas Renewable Energy Education Consortium ( to promote green energy awareness and education at HCC and within the state of Texas. Community Outreach Recognizing the intrinsic value that relationships provide, HCC commits to community outreach for the purpose of exposing others to the challenges and opportunities of climate change and sustainability. These opportunities include hosting the 2nd Annual Chancellor s Symposium on Energy (October 2009) that brings HCC students and local high school students together with faculty, staff, and relevant thought leaders from both the public and private sectors to explore the pathways and opportunities to careers in the energy industry. HCC believes that through community outreach, the path to a sustainable future is attainable, paved with expert knowledge, and resources united in a collaborative pursuit of a common interest. We commit to this effort with our partners that non-exclusively include: University of Houston, Rice University, Chevron Energy Solutions, Waste Management as well as federal and state policy makers. 8 For a comprehensive list of sustainability-related courses, please see Appendix B. 5

9 Financing Financing is a critical component to ensuring the progress of most, if not all, important initiatives that promote climate change. In fact, it was HCC s funding commitment to engage CES to provide the Energy Savings Performance Contract Services. This enabled the institution to help finalize a major element of its commitment to sustainability and the creation of a green environment articulated in the ACUPCC. To demonstrate its commitment, HCC executive administrators presented and the HCC Board of Trustees approved funding, in part, to help address global climate disruption and eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations. The means by which HCC, as approved by its governing board, will partly finance this endeavor is via maintenance tax notes (i.e., bonds over a 15-year period in the amount of $14,276,673). The maintenance tax notes will fund the energy conservation measures specifically identified in the CES CEA, as commissioned by HCC in July The approved funding positions HCC to leverage energy savings relevant to projects itemized in the CEA. The funding also helps HCC add cogeneration of electricity for emergency support to HCC headquarters and to develop sustainable green projects. The HCC Board of Trustees also authorized the chancellor to use grant funding and any required matching funds equal to additional savings to develop sustainable projects that qualify under the law. In fact, HCC is a recent recipient of a U.S. DOE grant totaling $3,566,058 that will help establish a network of educational, industry, and state partners to ensure the availability and effectiveness of solar installation training throughout the South Central region. These funding sources position HCC to further implement its CAP and promote climate neutrality and sustainability. Tracking Progress HCC is most familiar with the assertion that what gets tracked gets measured and the value it provides when actively implemented. Accordingly, HCC will track its ongoing efforts to promote climate neutrality and a sustainable future. In addition to using the CA CP calculator, HCC will use the internally devised Climate Action Matrix that tracks its progress, assignments and other relevant information that measures outcomes. 9 Conclusion Recognizing the importance of promoting climate neutrality and sustainability, HCC produced this CAP. The CAP generally addresses HCC s gross (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) and net carbon emissions (i.e., 1,176,705 metric tons) for the period 2001 to The CAP specifically addresses HCC s (1) carbon emissions, (2) mitigation strategies, (3) methods by which it will educate students, faculty and staff and engage the community, (4) financing, and (5) tracking outcomes. It is important to identify that the HCC greenhouse gas emissions inventory is inconclusive due to the absence of reliable systems capable of capturing relevant data. Therefore, HCC s emissions outcomes are correspondingly inconclusive. Nonetheless, the HCC emissions data, as captured and recorded, represents the best information available to us that provides a starting point to identify gaps in our tracking systems while also permitting HCC to provide meaningful information in this and future modified CAPs. The reader should also consider that some findings result from reasonable assumptions made about certain information sought (e.g., commuting by faculty and staff, diesel fuel usage). In the final analysis, HCC demonstrates, via this CAP, its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by promoting climate neutrality and sustainability. 9 See Appendix C that identifies the HCC Climate Action Matrix. 6

10 Appendices 7

11 CAP Authors Mary S. Spangler, Ed.D. Yvonne Bohanon, M.B.A. Piper Butler John Galiotos, Ph.D. Otiz Porter, M.A. Alex Prince, M.Ed Remmele J. Young, J.D. APPENDIX A Clean & Green Committee Yvonne Bohanon, M.B.A. Diana Castillo, Ed.D. Julian Fisher Margaret Ford Fisher, Ph.D. John Galiotos, Ph.D. Christopher Martin Virginia Parras, M.B.A. Hernan Segovia Virginia Stehr Jackquline Swindle, M.B.A. Tina Young Remmele J. Young, J.D. CAP Data Resources Art Tyler, D.M. Charles M. Cook, Ed.D. Hector Perez Karla Bender, C.P.A. Virginia Parras, M.B.A. Penny Roberts, C.P.A. Winston Dashe, M.B.A. Ray Golitko Jackquline Swindle, M.B.A. Ron DeFalco, C.P.A. Ken Hoyle John Carter Margaret Drain William Carter, M.B.A. Martha Oburn, Ph.D. Additional Support Daniel Seymour, Ph.D. Yolanda Cardenas Roger Cook Raul Ortegon Diana Sanders 8

12 APPENDIX B Sustainability-Related Courses Power Engineering Technology Construction Technology Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Industrial Electricity Biotechnology Chemical Engineering Technology Instrumentation and Controls Engineering Technology Process Technology Performing Comprehensive Building Assessments Building Analyst Quick Start Program 9

13 APPENDIX C Climate Action Matrix ACTION FOCUS ACTION GOAL METHOD ASSIGNED START-UP STEPS REVIEW MEASUREMENT Business Practices Reduce district-wide travel-related carbon emissions Encourage alternative forms of transportation to and from campus Discuss Results of Pilot Go to Meeting Project in DEL Develop a plan to replace and reduce the current fleet of vehicles with energy efficient models Contact Metro regarding reduced pricing for HCC students and faculty Clean & Green Committee Set as agenda item for discussion Clean & Green Committee Set as agenda item for discussion Determine amount of time and gas saved per meeting to use as criteria for system wide use To be developed If adopted, measure increase in meetings over time Fleet Management Timeline for replacement of fleet Clean & Green Committee Set as agenda item for discussion Increase business relationships with companies providing sustainable goods and services and demonstrating sustainable principles, practices, and ethics Stipulate sustainability as a factor in district RFP's for outside services and materials such as grounds maintenance and housekeeping Purchase eco-friendly and sustainably produced goods and services Building and Purchasing Set as agenda item for discussion Clean & Green Committee Set as agenda item for discussion Community Leadership Position HCC as a premier center for sustainable education in our community and throughout the Gulf Coast Region Complete, promote and maintain a Sustainability Website Provide outreach and programming to K-12 on sustainability topics Increase Dual Credit classes offering components in sustainability Partner with other local colleges, universities and/or agencies on sustainability projects: Develop leadership role in regional sustainability efforts Clean & Green Committee Set as agenda item for discussion, contact already made with Marketing Change verbiage in RFP's now for next round of bids Develop materials for input into HCC Vignette system Energy Institute On-going Continued association with the Solar Bus Energy Institute On-going Besides classes offered through the Energy Institute continue to integrate topics on sustainability throughout the HCC curriculum Clean & Green Committee On-going Continue offering an annual "Chancellor's Symposium on Energy" in order to engage high school students To be developed Percentage of RFP's that include sustainable practices as criteria Percentage increase of goods and services purchased that are sustainable Site established by January 2010, site updated as needed Percentage increase in participants and/or students Percentage increase in classes with sustainability as a component Percentage increase in participants and/or students 10

14 APPENDIX C (Continued) ACTION FOCUS ACTION GOAL METHOD ASSIGNED START-UP STEPS REVIEW MEASUREMENT Curriculum Provide every HCC student with a basic understanding of sustainable principles and issues that foster an attitude of responsibility to create a sustainable future Assess coverage of sustainability in all current HCC courses through survey of HCC faculty Investigate ways to expose HCC students to sustainable models Develop faculty and staff educational training on sustainability to be delivered in person and/or on-line Facilities Significantly and systematically reduce HCC use of non-renewable energy Recycling and Waste Management Begin implementation of Chevron Solutions Energy Audit Promote use of eco-unfriendly products at sites and grounds at HCC Review current RFP's for house and grounds keeping and commit to changing to eco-friendly products Establish district-wide recycling throughout HCC system Negotiate recycling audit costs with contracted waste vendor Seek long term funding to expand and maintain districtwide recycling program Clean & Green Committee On-going Measure response to survey; baseline current curriculum.; measure increase over time Clean & Green Committee Set as agenda item for discussion, contact staff responsible for "Student Success" to see if appropriate Clean & Green Committee Begin planning stages Building Services and Finance Scheduled implementation is February 2010 Building Services and Finance Contracts are renewed each fiscal year, target change for 2011 Percentage increase in student service initiatives Annual review of progress Percentage decrease in energy costs and emissions Building Services must monitor contractors performance as specified in bid contract Clean & Green Committee Award pending Clean & Green Committee to meet with successful bidder to continue discussion of needs Clean & Green Committee/ Finance Educate students, faculty and staff to ensure waste reduction and recycling is a priority Participate in RecycleMania annually at each campus Ongoing reduction in printing and paper usage district-wide annually Investigating usage of bio-diesel fuels in the Truck Driving and Fleet Management programs Promote recycling with HCC sponsored giveaways such as reusable grocery bags Conduct a grocery bag challenge pledge drive Clean & Green Committee and Public Relations Establish agenda item for committee meeting Establish agenda item for committee meeting Clean & Green Committee Continue with ongoing paperless projects Truck Driving and Fleet Management Measurement Continue to monitor process by using the Clear Air Cool Planet Emissions Calculator Seek more assistance with data input to improve original inventory submission Research costs for conversion of vehicles Public Relations On-going in Division of Extended Learning - seek to extend throughout system Clean & Green Committee Agenda item for committee meeting Clean & Green Committee Seek additional support, possible student or faculty led Committee to research other ongoing efforts Seek funding for costs of exiting vehicles Integrate as an interactive tool into web site Calculate percentage of decrease in environmental impact Success when pilot sites are established Percentage of participants Percentage increase of paperless projects initiated each year Percentage of change in truck driving fleet Percentage increase of purchase of eco-friendly promotional materials Percentage increase of participants More reliable and conclusive data 11

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16 HCC Board of Trustees Abel Davila, Board Chair......District VIII Yolanda Navarro Flores District I Bruce A. Austin District II Diane Olmos Guzmán District III Dr. Michael P. Williams District IV Richard M. Schechter District V Robert Mills Worsham District VI Neeta Sane District VII Christopher W. Oliver District IX Chancellor Dr. Mary S. Spangler Contact Remmele J. Young Office of Government Relations and Sustainability

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