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EPA MOVES TO PRIVATIZE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL OVERSIGHT
Release Date: 05/06/1996
BOSTON - The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) New England office today unveiled StarTrack, a program to privatize corporate environmental compliance assurance -- relying on professional third-party auditors rather than EPA inspectors -- while encouraging companies to go beyond what environmental laws require.
StarTrack encourages participants to use environmental compliance and management system audits to prevent pollution and improve environmental quality and to have their environmental results certified by an independent third party and reported to EPA and the public. New England's Environmental Leadership Program is the first regional voluntary program to reward businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies who agree to achieve greater protection of the environment than what the law requires. EPA offers incentives to all ELP and StarTrack participants including multi-media facility permits; enforcement amnesty; reduced inspections; and public recognition.
"StarTrack is a giant step toward a smarter, more efficient way to achieve greater environmental protection. It has the potential to revolutionize the way we do business at EPA," said DeVillars. "We have the opportunity to create a whole new class of environmental professionals who monitor environmental performance for EPA in the same way that certified public accountants monitor fiscal performance for the Securities Exchange Commission. By having high performing companies commit to credible, honest third-party audits of their environmental performance, we can shift EPA resources to areas where we will receive greater environmental returns on the taxpayers' investment."
StarTrack is based on the fact that many of those that EPA regulates in New England are in compliance with environmental laws, meaning that a high level of scrutiny and oversight by EPA achieves little benefit for the environment. In the privatized system, a qualified third party reviews a company's environmental management systems, including a review of compliance audits and correction mechanisms, and certifies a company's high performance in a public report. In exchange, EPA will grant enforcement relief to certified companies, reduce federal inspections, and in effect, redirect federal resources to more critical areas of environmental concern.
ELP participants were selected because they have demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental compliance, integrated an environmental ethic into their management structure, policies and activities, demonstrated a firm commitment to pollution prevention, and carried out substantial environmental programs. To be considered for this program, a company's efforts must result in environmental improvements above and beyond the requirements of the law.
EPA selected eight companies to pilot the first phase of the StarTrack initiative under the rubric of the Environmental Leadership Program. The companies are:
- E G & G Electro-Optics of Salem - Salem, Mass.
- Spalding Sports Worldwide - Chicopee, Mass.
- Texas Instruments Inc. Materials and Controls Group - Attleboro, Mass.
- International Paper Androscoggin Mill - Jay, Maine
- Sanders, A Lockheed Martin Company - Nashua, N.H.
- Petroleum Heat and Power Co. Inc. - Canton and E. Hartford, Conn.
- Whyco Chromium Co. Inc. - Thomaston, Conn.
- Chesebrough-Ponds USA Co. - Clinton, Conn.
- Crittenton Hastings House - Boston
- Digital Equipment Corporation - Maynard, Mass.
- Lockheed Martin Defense Systems - Pittsfield, Mass.
- Fletcher Allen Health Care - Burlington, Vt.
- IBM - Essex Junction, Vt.
- U.S. Postal Service Hartford Vehicle Maintenance Facility - Hartford, Conn.
- The United Illuminating Co. - New Haven, Conn.
- Maine Energy Recovery Company - Biddeford, Maine
- Cranston Print Works Company - Cranston, R.I.
- Veryfine Products Inc. - Westford, Mass.