Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
The presence of perchlorate in groundwater, coupled with heightened public concern fueled by activist involvement at neighboring sites (DuPont and Dyno-Nobel), elevated the possibility for increased public attention and regulatory scrutiny at Molycorp’s Louviers, Colo. site. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requested that Molycorp implement a broad-scale communications program involving residents living around the facility and homeowners’ associations in Highlands Ranch.
Sigler Communications' Role
Sigler Communications’ strong working relationship with the CDPHE helped Molycorp work with the state to develop a sensible approach to communications and community involvement. Our team conducted community involvement interviews that served as the basis for the communication plan. The plan was tailored to ensure the company communicated with those who were potentially most impacted by Molycorp’s past operations, to ensure they were informed and to gauge their level of concern/questions. A second objective of the plan was to ensure opinion leaders were informed early in the process, and to get them to serve as gatekeepers of information in the event activist activity ensued.
Sigler Communications developed key messaging, possible questions and answers and handouts for briefings we attended with company representatives to the Titan Industrial businesses, the Highlands Ranch water district, state and local elected officials and community leaders.
The preemptive communications approach effectively worked to diffuse public outrage/concerns and mitigate activist involvement on the site. The community benefited from hearing about the issue directly from Molycorp versus reading about it in the newspaper or hearing misinformation from environmental activists. The company maintained a productive working relationship with the CDPHE public information officer and was able find the middle ground to avoid derailing the good relationship it had built around the technical work. Neutralized public opposition allowed the company to conclude its cleanup activities and sell the property for other land use.