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Published:May 6th, 2008 08:33 EST
GM & WM: Fighting the good fight in Michigan Economy

GM & WM: Fighting the good fight in Michigan Economy

By Garrett Godwin

DETROIT, MI: When thought of the word "cafe", we think of mocha, java, and Starbucks.  However, CAFE is short for Corporate Average Fuel Economy that regulates gas for the federal government.  "It's not the engine; it depends on the size of the car", said Robin Richey of General Motors.  "The heavier the car, the more gas it needs; the lighter the car, the less gas it needs.

Richey is one of the representatives for GM for this year's Brownfield Conference, which began yesterday afternoon at Cobo Center.  Employed with GM for 23 years, Richey has spend the last eight as Senior Envirnomental Manager that is responsible for managing all waste contracts as well as all 56 facilities in the United States -- including Waste Management (WM), who has them as one of its clients.

"[It is] more of a will call" states Mike Wood of the Wixom office.  "[We go] through a waste profile with GM."  WM deals different types of waste such as "Type 2", also known as "special waste" like filter cake, waste water, and process discharge.  Other clients of WM includes Ford and private corporations that has waste contimination that must be dealt with.  Their municipals in Michigan have the task of taking out trash in the neighborhoods from garbage cans,  Depending on the neighborhood and the size of it, the estimate is between $6-10 per household.

Addressing brownfields -- abandoned or underutilized properties stigmatized by past commercial or industrial uses -- is a test for communities of every shape and form.  By focusing on redevelopment, properties are put back into productive use while helping keep undeveloped lands in a natural state.

But according to John Bradburn of GM, who participates in community activities, this is a "social commitment".  "These people are neighbors, employees, friends, and family" he responds.  "We [, at General Motors,] want to help people and communities -- because it is the right thing to do."