Regional transmission organization serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont

The Challenge

The client developed the means to stabilize Southwest Connecticut’s electrical grid to protect against system failure during peak demand periods.

To implement this program, the client needed to secure the support of residents and businesses in Connecticut. Professionals from PermittingPartners, led by Lindsey Johnson, were retained by the client to help gain this support.

Our Solution
PermittingPartners, working closely with client representatives, designed a comprehensive strategy that included public education and communications campaigns designed to increase understanding among leading businesses, associations, elected officials and other stakeholders about the client’s proposals to guarantee the provision of reliable electric power throughout the region.

The communications campaign was designed to share the client’s messages with key stakeholders and to keep these messages "top-of-mind." Another important element of the campaign was to establish meetings with Connecticut's congressional delegation, both in-person and via conference call briefings, which solidified relationships and fostered an open exchange of information. PermittingPartners also produced written materials for publication in newsletters and other communication vehicles that reached target audiences.

In addition, PermittingPartners carried out a wide range of follow-up activities, including providing additional information to stakeholders and helping third-party allies tailor energy information for their needs.

The Result
These efforts successfully educated target audiences on the need to guarantee sources of uninterrupted energy for Connecticut’s citizens and businesses.

The education and communications campaigns reached officials and opinion leaders throughout the state, created a valuable network of informed allies and established the client's reputation as a responsible company fully able to accomplish the proposed task safely and competently. Also, major players in Connecticut were educated about critical power issues and provided a solid understanding of the client's efforts to find and implement solutions.

Services Provided

  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • Strategic Planning
  • Coalition Building & Ally Development
  • Public Relations
  • Government Affairs

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The world’s largest producer of ground calcium carbonate

The Challenge

With demand increasing, the PermittingPartner’s client needed to increase production of ground calcium carbonate. The client identified opportunities in Vermont to open more quarries of ground calcium carbonate, an essential ingredient in a variety of products, including paper, plastics, paint, pharmaceuticals and food.

The client needed state approval for an environmental permit to open a mine under Dutch Hill in Danby, Vt. Environmental groups, which were heavily funded and received attention from The Wall Street Journal and TIME magazine, protested the Dutch Hill project. In order to counter opposition and ensure approval from the state, the client sought to enhance its reputation as an environmentally friendly company.

Our Solution
PermittingPartners representatives joined the project after the opposition already was firmly entrenched. A strategy was developed to position the client as an environmentally responsible corporation and to undertake public education efforts to neutralize opposition to the Dutch Hill project. Messaging highlighted the environmental and quality-of-life benefits of the client’s products, which help eliminate acid rain, clean the air in smoke stacks, treat osteoporosis and replace harmful lead commonly used in paints. Messaging also emphasized that calcium carbonate replaces the wood in paper, therefore reducing the need for logging vast stretches of forests.

To counter the positive media attention garnered by opposing groups, PermittingPartners conducted a detailed analysis of interested media and began to establish relationships with each reporter. Through these key reporter relationships, PermittingPartners crafted message points specifically addressing each reporter's expertise and designed and produced individual press kits. These relationships allowed PermittingPartners to counter opposition messages and ensured that media coverage included the client’s point of view. PermittingPartners also secured the support of third-party stakeholders who served as media spokespersons and demonstrated that the client's messages were truthful and accurate.

The client created an on-site museum where interactive displays persuasively tell their story and demonstrate the value of calcium carbonate. The museum exhibits describe the hundreds of uses of the company's products and includes a list of end-user products, including those with well-known brand names, containing calcium carbonate. Interviews with the client’s leadership were conducted in the company's museum to further emphasis the company's commitment to the environment and the value of its product.

The Result
The effort to position the client as environmentally friendly was a complete success, and it provided a solid foundation for wider acceptance among stakeholders statewide. The media coverage turned from negative to positive as the client demonstrated its track record of environmental stewardship. An extensive and favorable front-page article ran in The Wall Street Journal, and TIME magazine featured a multiple-page story that included the company's key message points and highlighted its third-party support. The articles portrayed the client as an environmentally sensitive company with beneficial products. In fact, The Wall Street Journal titled its piece "Green vs. Green," equivocating the client with the environmental group opposing it.

Despite the dramatic change in news coverage and the newly generated goodwill, PermittingPartners recommended that the client not pursue the Dutch Hill permit, as the logistical challenges created by the opposition were cost-prohibitive.

Services Provided

  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • Strategic Planning
  • Coalition Building & Ally Development
  • Public Relations
  • Event/ Meeting Planning

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Rail spur development project for the world's largest producer of ground calcium carbonate

The Challenge
The client was denied a request to increase truck shipments of raw materials from the Middlebury Quarry to its Verpol plant in Florence – a distance of 23 miles. As a result, the company had to find a transportation alternative.

Rail transportation provided the most immediate and reasonable option. However, legislative, funding and environmental issues presented formidable challenges to the success of this approach.

PermittingPartners' Lee Khan was invited to work with the client to develop a strategic plan to gain support at the federal, state and local levels for a rail project.

Our Solution
The client, joined with a nearby rail company, proposed a funding formula to that would raise an estimated $22 million, the amount needed to secure a loan from the Federal Railway Administration to help finance the spur. The client, their railway partner, various state agencies, and the Conservation Law Foundation formed a public-private partnership to execute the plan.

Next, Khan developed a program that educated relevant legislators in U.S. Congress about the need for inclusion in the 2005 federal transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU) of a pilot project that would support four infrastructure projects, including the client’s project.

With the building blocks for the spur project in place, Khan developed a strategic communications plan to gain local stakeholder support for the pilot project. The plan included efforts to demonstrate that rail is a more progressive and environmentally desirable transportation option than trucking. The key facts distributed to all stakeholders – most importantly the environmental organizations with an interest in this project – stated that:

  • Rail transportation allows the client to remove 70,000 truck trips from Route 7 during the first year of the spur’s operation.
  • In addition to reducing highway congestion and increasing safety, the rail project enables the client to reduce its overall environmental footprint by 5,833 lbs. of HC and 18,028 lbs. of NOx emissions.

The Result
When a funding source was identified for the MOU group, the spur became the state's top-priority rail project.

The rail project was included in SAFETEA-LU as one of Vermont's four pilot projects. The state received $22 million in private-sector funding, as well as a $30 million earmark.

All major environmental organizations endorsed the spur/pilot. The American Association of State Highway Organizations gave the project one of six national awards for smart growth, and the Economic Development Journal has devoted two major editorials to the unique public-private partnership and innovative thinking that brought about the pilot project.

Services Provided

  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • Strategic Planning
  • Coalition Building & Ally Development
  • Public Relations
  • Event/ Meeting Planning
  • Government Affairs

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