HOUSTON, April 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CITGO Petroleum Corporation was honored as the 2018 Corporate Conservationist of the Year by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation at the 55th Governor's State Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet in Baton Rouge, La. on April 27. Presented by Louisiana Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Tom Harris, the award honors individuals and businesses that have achieved significant pollution abatement, land use planning and management, conservation education and awareness, and habitat stewardship.
"It is such a great honor for CITGO to be recognized by Louisiana as Corporate Conservationist of the Year," said CITGO General Manager Community Relations, CSR and Legislative Affairs Larry Elizondo. "This award is a testament to our passion for environmental protection and restoration. It is also a reflection of our commitment to supporting the communities in which we live and work, especially in Southwest Louisiana where this year, CITGO celebrates 75 years of operations at the Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex."
In remembrance of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, CITGO launched Caring for our Coast (CFOC) in 2014, as an environmental campaign focused on Gulf Coast conservation and restoration. Early activities started in Louisiana and included a wetland restoration project at the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center in New Orleans and a grass planting event on Holly Beach in Southwest Louisiana. Originally intended as a year-long effort, CFOC has evolved into an ongoing, large-scale environmental restoration program, including educational and volunteer efforts in Louisiana. The program has also expanded to include environmental projects in Texas and Illinois where CITGO also has major operations.
As a continuance of CFOC in Louisiana, in March 2018 the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery and The Nature Conservancy joined forces with community volunteers to help restore the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge for the second year in a row. CITGO also partnered with Restore the Earth in 2018 for the third year to plant Cypress trees in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. The company contributed $100,000 to the larger initiative of Restore the Earth to restore one million acres of degraded land in the Mississippi River basin to its natural state. To date, CITGO has invested a total of more than $4.7 million in Louisiana conservation efforts.
Louisiana Wildlife Federation Executive Director Rebecca Triche said conserving important habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife protects Louisiana's natural heritage legacy for future generations. "The CITGO Caring for Our Coast program has partnered with citizens, nonprofits, and agencies to engage in coastal restoration work and advance stewardship of our natural resources, which is very worthy of recognition."
CITGO is committed to safeguarding the environment, protecting coastal communities and enhancing the beauty of the states it operates within. Through the CFOC program throughout the operational footprint of CITGO, 6,218 volunteers have volunteered 25,287 hours in 250 restoration, conservation and education events throughout 2018. CITGO has also supported 11 non-profit organizations whose work has resulted in 1,042 acres of land restored or enhanced, 106,282 trees, shrubs and grass plugs planted, 92,944 lbs. of trash collected, and 279 miles of shoreline cleaned.
"It has been incredibly inspiring to see so many people come together through Caring for Our Coast to promote environmental stewardship in Louisiana and at large," added Elizondo. "Together with our community partners and volunteers, we've been able to enhance coastal wetland and watershed systems, protect vulnerable coastal communities from storm surge and flood risks, restore native wildlife and fisheries, and so much more."
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is a recognized leader in the refining industry with a well-known brand. CITGO operates three refineries located in Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Lemont, Ill., and wholly and/or jointly owns 45 terminals, nine pipelines and three lubricants blending and packaging plants. With approximately 3,500 employees and a combined crude capacity of approximately 749,000 barrels-per-day (bpd), CITGO is ranked as the fifth-largest, and one of the most complex independent refiners in the United States. CITGO transports and markets transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products and supplies a network of approximately 4,900 locally owned and operated branded retail outlets in 30 states and the District of Columbia. CITGO Petroleum Corporation is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.