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EPA Halts Program That Rewards Facilities

by Cheryl Hogue
March 23, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 12

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week suspended a voluntary program designed to recognize facilities for environmental activities such as recycling cardboard or cutting water use. The National Environmental Performance Track program rewarded participating facilities, which included several chemical plants, with fewer inspections. But it drew controversy after a study by an environmental group found that some Performance Track members increased their emissions of toxic chemicals (C&EN, Sept. 11, 2006, page 26). Then, in 2007, a report by the EPA Office of Inspector General called for reform of Performance Track (C&EN, April 23, 2007, page 36). Now, in a March 16 memo, Jackson said EPA will review Performance Track and ask the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy & Technology to make suggestions about environmental leadership programs for facilities. The Performance Track Participants Association, which includes about 300 of the program's 547 members, is disappointed that it had no opportunity to meet with the agency before Jackson shut down Performance Track, says John Flatley, the group's executive director. "A lot of companies in this program are doing the right things" to protect the environment, he tells C&EN.


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