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EPA Announces $125,000 for Pollution Prevention Grants in Rhode Island

Release Date: 09/20/2001
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it is awarding two grants totaling $125,000 for pollution prevention projects in Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island will receive $75,000 for a project working with auto body finishers and the Narragansett Bay Commission will receive $50,000 for outreach to the metal finishing industry. Both grants require recipients to contribute matching amounts to the funded projects.

Robert W. Varney, regional administrator at EPA's New England Office, announced the grants at the Governor's Pollution Prevention and Environmental Leadership Awards Breakfast in Providence.

"Rhode Island's metal finishers and other businesses have made huge progress in recent years cutting pollution in their operations and these grants today will further those efforts," Varney said. "These pollution prevention activities are a major reason why Narragansett Bay is so much cleaner today and why additional improvements are expected down the road."

URI and the NBC have received $415,000 of pollution prevention grants from EPA in the past four years.

"I want to thank Bob Varney and the Environmental Protection Agency for continuing to support our ongoing work in protecting our environment," Governor Lincoln Almond said. "These grants will assist the Narragansett Bay Commission and the University of Rhode Island in furthering their goals to combat pollution."

The University of Rhode Island's Center for Pollution Prevention is receiving $75,000 for a project to develop a certification program for the state's auto refinishing industry. Other partners in the project include the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, the Davies Career and Technical High School, the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, the Narragansett Bay Commission and the R.I. Department of Health. The project will design a curriculum to help auto refinishing businesses understand and comply with environmental and health/safety regulations, and allow businesses to be certified that they have completed training. The project will also track the effects of the training curriculum.

The Bay Commission is receiving $50,000 to work with the dozens of metal finishers in the Providence area. The commission's pollution prevention staff, in conjunction with URI, DEM and the R.I. Council of Electroplaters, will conduct pollution prevention audits of metal finishing companies located within the commission's service district. Follow-up audits will be conducted in order to assist companies in implementing suggested pollution prevention activities. The project also will test the effects of a proposed EPA regulation that encourages pollution prevention by metal finishers to avoid more stringent regulations in the future. An enthusiastic response from the metal finishing community is anticipated and the commission plans to conduct at least 20 individual pollution prevention audits as part of this two-year project.

The project is part of a larger EPA-initiated national partnership, the Metal Finishing Strategic Goals Program, that has brought pollution prevention expertise to 289 metal finishers nationally, including 16 in Rhode Island. The ‘beyond compliance' program has achieved a near two-thirds reduction in metals released into the country's air and water – often at significant savings to businesses because they have smaller waste management and raw material costs.