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Release Date: 10/20/98
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EPA today announced the availability of four new Compliance Assistance Centers whose purpose is to assist small businesses, local governments and communities in understanding and complying with environmental regulations. These new centers will focus on the paints and coatings industry, the transportation industry, small and medium-sized chemical manufacturers, and local government agencies. Each center will offer web sites, telephone assistance lines, document fax-back systems, and e-mail discussion groups.
"We are fundamentally changing the way this country protects public health and the environment by making environmental regulations work better and cost less," Vice President Al Gore said. "These new compliance centers provide small businesses, local governments and others with unprecedented
access to basic information, ensuring easier and cheaper compliance with our nation's environmental laws."

The Compliance Assistance Centers are part of the Clinton Administration’s sweeping efforts to reinvent government to make it work better and cost less. In March 1995, President Clinton, Vice President Gore and EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner put forth an ambitious agenda to reinvent environmental protection as part of that larger reinvention effort. Under EPA’s reinvention efforts, the agency has cut more than 22 million hours of unnecessary paperwork burden while at the same time strengthening protection of public health and the environment. The Compliance Assistance Centers are designed to make regulatory and pollution prevention information available to small businesses so they can achieve compliance with environmental laws as easily and cost-effectively as possible. Other assistance centers opened by EPA received more than 75,000 visits over the Internet during the first six months of 1998.

The four new centers bring a total of nine to the Internet. Other centers cover the metal finishing, automotive service and repair, printing, printed wiring boards and agriculture industries. All of the centers are operated in partnership with industry, academic institutions, environmental groups, and other federal and state agencies.

“We need the combined efforts of all levels of government, businesses, and the public to successfully address the environmental problems we all face today,” said Steven A. Herman, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “We must use all the tools available to us to promote compliance for the good of the environment. The centers are valuable tools for providing small businesses and local government with detailed information that they need in order to comply with regulations which protect the environment.”

Centers are selected to serve sectors in which there are a large number of small entities that come under federal environmental regulation. The centers make information available to those who want to do the right thing, but need answers to their questions. Since not all small businesses have access to the Internet, the centers also provide information through toll-free phone lines and fax mail.

The nine EPA compliance assistance centers provide regularly updated compliance policies and guidelines, pollution prevention information, sources of additional information and expertise, summaries of regulations and initiatives, vendor listings and directories, environmental management software and benchmarking tools that can be downloaded from the Internet. Some of the centers also contain “expert help” features that guide a small business to information, “virtual shops” that allow a user to click on any facet of an illustrated operation and see what regulations apply, and on-line access to relevant state regulations.

The web addresses of the new compliance assistance centers are:

Chemical Industry
Local Governments
Paints & Coatings

The web addresses of the existing compliance assistance centers are:

Metal Finishing
Automotive Service & Repair
Printed Wiring Boards

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