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Environmental Services Becomes More Sustainable

By Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma- Muscogee (Creek) Nation Environmental Office has completed another year of Sustainable Tulsa ScoreCard on the Verified Platinum Level.

The Sustainable Tulsa ScoreCard is an online sustainability tracking assessment. It is comprised of different cornerstones, which are communication, community stewardship, energy, healthy work environment, material management, transportation and water.

In order to score platinum level, the environmental office had to make sure all the cornerstones were covered. They had some key performance indicators to help the numbers of the cornerstones.

“One of our highlights was our KPI points were 65, we got quite a bit of those,” Director of Environmental Services James Williams said. “We got a score of 119 out of 120 possible points so we scored real good.”

On the different categories for communication they put out different newsletters, articles for the paper or something on their efforts.

Community stewardship is when they host Earth Day. They were able to get some points for having volunteers from the tribe on Earth Day and National Recycle Day. The National Recycle Day goes along with their healthy work environment for points.

“Our healthy work environment we try to recycle around here,” Williams said. “Everyone uses their coffees cups to stir away from Styrofoam cups.”

For energy, environmental’s office building has a new air conditioner but they are trying to conserve a little energy by turning things off. Before leaving they turn off their computers and lights in restrooms or offices. The transportation part they have two hybrid electric vehicles.

“We’re the ones who are putting charging stations in front of the Chief’s office those will be available any day now,” Williams said. “Those will be for employees and citizens, we’re hoping that as cheap as electric cars are now we’ll start seeing more of a trend. They are affordable and you don’t have to buy gas, it’s just a little bit of electric. You don’t have to change any oil but still have to check brakes and tires.”

The water part is where environmental stresses good water quality. Some of the water aspects Williams talks about are using less water while doing dishes or taking a shower.

“But it looks like we scored pretty high in those categories,” Williams said. “They have a category in participation, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Last year we received the gold category but this year we achieved platinum. So we’re real enthused about that one. We do have an assistant sustainable person who works on our staff, she treats this like her baby.”

This is the third year for the environmental office to participate in the scorecard. The first year they scored in participation, last year they set their efforts and was awarded in the gold and this year they are on top. Last year there was 74 companies competing compared to this year with only 59 companies.

“We have to have communication, promotion, employee engagement which comes from the tribe and admin,” Williams stated about getting platinum on the scorecard. “We work for the Secretary of Interior Mr. Jesse Allen and we’re glad he’s on board with us, also the Chief and Second Chief. They are fully aware of what we do and we like to have them on our side.”

Now that the environmental office has been awarded the platinum, they are eligible to compete in the Henry Bellmon award. This award is presented to the most sustainable company that’s participated and so the environmental office will be in the running this fall.

“I just want to thank the environmental services group, they have all worked hard. It was a team effort, we knew in order to get the platinum we’d have to work together,” Williams said. “We would just like our tribe to be more sustainable by saving energy and save a little money.”

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