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    Big Oil Companies Give Back

    BP, Chevron, Exxon and Marathon support community initiatives.

    NEW YORK -- Not all trees work for the good, which residents along a 40-mile stretch of Colorado's San Miguel River know all too well. The banks are home to the non-native Tamarisk tree, which depletes rivers and watersheds at a rate of up to 300 gallons of water per day per tree.

    Marathon Oil Corp. pledged $100,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to help in the removal of the Tamarisk trees, an initiative that will improve the health of rivers and wildlife.

    "One of Marathon's core values is to help preserve the environment for future generations. We know that we are guests in the communities in which we work; and therefore, we live by our principles of promoting sustainable social, environmental and economic benefits wherever we operate," Steven P. Guidry, Marathon's regional vice president, North America production operations, said in a released statement. "Marathon is committed to promoting the public-private partnerships necessary to address this major challenge. Long-term, we hope to expand upon this successful Tamarisk control model and help bring together a larger coalition of support for the effort."

    The company has committed to provide total funding of up to $350,000 through 2009 to benefit the major watersheds and tributaries of the Colorado River, explained Guidry.

    "We applaud Marathon's leadership in directing their contributions and private industry's attention toward solving a serious conservation issue in the West," Jeff Trandahl, executive director for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, said in a released statement.

    Chevron Energy Technology Co. is also giving back. The company pledged $2.5 million to the Texas A&M Foundation to help fuel the University's engineering project certificate.

    "We are delighted to partner with Texas A&M on this most important addition to the curriculum," Mark B. Puckett, president of Chevron Energy Technology Co., told Texas A&M Engineering News. "Project management skills are vital to us as we deliver new supplies of energy for growing economies."

    To earn the certificate, undergraduates must complete an interdisciplinary course load that focuses on management skills and technical knowledge, and must learn how to deliver projects on time and on budget, explained G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of engineering and Harold J. Haynes Dean's Chair professor.

    "A solid background in project management is essential for successful engineers in today's team-based industries," Bennett told the paper, adding that $2 million of the donation has been earmarked for an endowment at the Foundation to establish the Chevron Public Management fund. "Chevron excels in this discipline and has led by example in making this important gift."

    Southern California teachers received a boost from BP and its 90 A+ for Energy Teacher Projects. The company awarded $1,000,000 in grants and scholarships to teachers for creative classroom, after-school, extra-curricular and summer activities involving energy
    education and conservation.

    "Teachers are brimming with ingenious ways to teach students about the importance of renewable power sources and energy conservation," Crystal Ashby, vice president government and public affairs for BP America, said in a released statement. "It's an honor for BP to provide these A+ for Energy grants so that teachers have the funds necessary to implement those ideas, teaching future generations to become responsible environmental stewards."

    In addition to the grant award, Ashby explained that BP will provide winning teachers with a scholarship to attend a three-day energy training conference, presented in partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

    Additionally, America's largest oil company, ExxonMobil kicked-off the 18th annual ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP) at the Dallas Arboretum. The program, now in its 37th year, pairs 75 undergraduate college students with local nonprofits for a paid internship, explained Truman Bell, senior program officer for education and diversity, ExxonMobil Foundation Agencies.

    ExxonMobil supports the program with a $237,000 grant, which funds the interns' salaries and expenses for administering the program.

    "This is more than simply a summer job, but rather a unique experience," Bell said in a released statement. "In addition to on-the-job skills, these 75 interns will also gain tools for professional development and valuable insight into the operations of some of the most respected nonprofit organizations in the Dallas community."

    During the reception, two former CSJP summer interns who have pursued full-time careers in the nonprofit world were honored as the 2008 ExxonMobil Community Champions. "We hope that this is only the beginning of a lifetime of service for these young people. Whether they make a career in the nonprofit world or become active volunteers, understanding the important role these agencies play in our community is one the key goals of our program."

    Since the program began in 1971 in New York, ExxonMobil has provided more than $8.4 million to support nearly 4,000 internships in 10 states, including Alabama, Alaska, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming, and internationally in Angola.

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