EPA Introduces New Initiatives for Small Business

Strategy focuses on compliance assistance and rewards for companies that think green

WASHINGTON, March 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- EPA AdministratorChristine Todd Whitman outlined a newly revised small-businessstrategy, new initiatives and the creation of the National Centerfor Environmental Innovation at the first "National Summit onSmall Business and the Environment" Thursday.

"EPA recognizes and supports small businesses, the backboneof our nation's economy. State, local, trade associations, theSmall Business Administration and other federal agencies can worktogether to assist small businesses to meet environmentalobligations, while understanding a business's fiscalobligations," said Whitman.

The National Summit on Small Business Environment gathered keybusiness influencers from national, state and local levels. SBAadministrator Hector Barreto remarked on the significance of theEPA and SBA partnership and commended the EPA for understanding theuniqueness of small businesses.

"Small business is not small when you consider itsrelevance to the country. Clean natural environment and economicstrength are inextricably connected. Owners of these businesses aresome of the best people to preserve the environment because theylive where they do business," said Barreto.

EPA small-business initiatives discussed include:

  • The opening of two Compliance Assistance Centers, which willfocus on the auto salvaging and construction sectors. Combined withEPA's other 10 compliance centers, these information portalshelp businesses to understand and meet their environmentalobligations.
  • The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, whichawards small high-tech firms that develop progressive environmentaltechnologies.
  • A "Presidential Green Chemistry Award Program" thatrecognizes businesses that develop environmentally safe chemicalproducts.
  • A "Design for the Environment" program that increasesthe competitiveness of small businesses by spurring the innovationof cleaner technologies.
  • E-rulemaking to assist small-business owners and operators inunderstanding complex environmental rules and regulations.

Other announcements included the creation of the EPA NationalCenter for Environmental Innovation, headed by Director JayBenforado, and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with theNational Park Service (NPS). The MOU creates a partnership with theNPS and seeks environmental performance improvement among parkbusinesses and contractors.

Copyright 2003, U.S. Newswire

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