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Going Green Programs Shrink

10.01.2010

By Andy Bowman, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

Recent U.S. EPA decisions will eliminate or cutback two popular environmental leadership programs.
On September 15, 2010, U.S. EPA announced that it will phase down services the agency provides to business partners participating in the Climate Leaders program during 2011. Climate Leaders is a voluntary program started in 2002 which recognizes businesses that have completed a corporate-wide greenhouse gas inventory, set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal and met that goal. U.S. EPA will help participants to transition to comparable programs established by states or NGOs. Indiana does not have a comparable program. U.S. EPA cited the mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule that took effect on January 1, 2010 as a factor in its decision.

On August 19, 2010, U.S. EPA announced that it planned to reject three key incentives provided by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to participants in Indiana’s Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). The ESP is Indiana’s voluntary program designed to recognize entities that have met a standard of environmental compliance, maintained an environmental management system and committed to continuous environmental improvement. In return ESP participants receive regulatory flexibility and public recognition.

U.S. EPA sought comments to disapprove three regulatory flexibility incentives offered by IDEM:

  1. providing ESP participants the same benefits available only to National Environmental Performance Track participants;
  2. monthly, rather than daily, averaging of VOC emissions from coatings or inks; and
  3. processing pollution prevention project as minor permit revisions without public notice.

If disapproved by U.S. EPA, the loss of these incentives may discourage participation in the ESP.

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