COCO+CO. | I-Site
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I-Site

Proactive Crisis Communications

Even the most beneficial housing, redevelopment and energy projects are often struck down by fearful regulators or local boards.

Driven by a fear of the unknown, the public—including news reporters and local politicians—often challenge projects they don’t understand. And their protests persist even though these projects may lessen many environmental threats. Fueling opponents are some personal injury lawyers and special interest groups that secure economic opportunity from the debate.

COCO+CO.’s unique and acclaimed “I-Site” approach delivers successful siting—and, with it, reduced legal and technical costs. For existing operations, this proactive public affairs approach may avert future problems and ease sales negotiations.

How can you take advantage of new market opportunities; win permits with a minimum of delay, limit costly conditions; reduce unfounded objections; and contain legal costs? The answer is letting down the traditional corporate guard and fully “involving” all constituent audiences in the siting process. Unfortunately, this is not a do-it-yourself project. The success of the involvement in siting—or the “I-Site”—approach relies heavily on the adoption of a new, yet common sense, communications model. These conclusions are based on a comparison of siting successes and failures over the last 25 years.

Call or use the inquiry form for an evaluation of your needs.

Case study

Contaminated utility site cleanup earns local thanks

An important, regional natural gas utility found itself facing the prospect of millions of dollars in litigation as five of its properties were identified as containing hazardous wastes.

The company had reason to worry. No other utility with historical coal gas manufacturing waste sites had escaped enormous financial and regulatory liabilities. Determined to remediate the sites in an effective and responsible manner, the utility’s chairman and president still sought to avoid costly litigation and unnecessary regulatory hurdles. They understood delays would likely worsen environmental problems.

Against the advice of lawyers, company leaders approved Coco’s complete “come clean” approach. This involved freely divulging the sources of contaminants and seeking public input into cleanup approaches and property reuse options. The campaign relied on door-to-door visits, public meetings, appearances before government bodies, press campaigns and advertising. Utility officials explained the pollution dated back more than a hundred years during a less environmentally enlightened age. Utilities of the day were at least responsible enough to remove heating and lighting gas contaminants—sulfur and cyanide, among others—before sending the fuel into people’s homes.

In the end, the sites were cleaned to the satisfaction of neighbors, regulators and local boards, leading one city council to thank the company for “being a good neighbor.” Moreover, one location was outfitted with 3,565 solar panels. Clean electricity from the site now generates 1,202 MWh per year.

Call or use the inquiry form for an evaluation of your needs.