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Ports of Indiana become first inland waterway to secure Green Marine environmental designation

Craft brewery tanks made in Europe passed through the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor on their way to Bell's Brewery in Michigan. The Ports of Indiana received a coveted Green Marine designation for environmental sustainability.

The Ports of Indiana have become the first inland waterway system in the country and the first statewide port authority in the nation to earn a Green Marine certification for environmental sustainability.

The certification comes after the state's two ports on the Ohio River caught up to the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in adopting environmental best practices.

The port on Lake Michigan in Porter County earned the honor in 2014 in recognition of steps it took beyond regulatory requirements in areas like aquatic invasive species, greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Now, the entire Indianapolis-based ports system, including the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville and Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon on the southern edge of the state, has received the distinction from Green Marine, a voluntary environmental certification program for North America's maritime industry. 

“We’re so pleased to have the Jefferson and Mount Vernon ports join the Burns Harbor location that has been certified annually since 2014,” Green Marine Executive Director David Bolduc said. “Seeking Green Marine certification for the entirety of the state’s port network clearly demonstrates the commitment by the Ports of Indiana to greener practices.”

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The Green Marine certification, meant to promote "environmental excellence" on 12 metrics within the shipping industry, recognizes sustainability in a number of areas, including underwater noise, stormwater management, spill prevention and dry bulk handling and storage.

“The Green Marine certification emphasizes our commitment to adopt practices and technologies that have a direct impact at our three port locations and beyond,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Vanta Coda II. “We will continue to seek improvement of our environmental performance by adhering to the Green Marine guiding principles.”

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor improved its Green Marine score last year, most dramatically in the spill prevention category. It also adopted and implemented a stormwater management program in November.

“The Ports of Indiana is taking the maritime industry to the next level,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release. “From stormwater management to community impact, the Green Marine certification verifies the Ports of Indiana’s performance, achievements and commitment to implement continuous improvement across our port system.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.