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State program expanding to help businesses go green

In an effort to reach more facilities and reduce overall negative environmental impacts, the N.C. Environmental Stewardship Initiative is offering a two-year pilot program for businesses, institutions and government agencies that are not typically regulated by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

For purposes of this pilot program, facilities that have only stormwater permits, active Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Identification numbers, or are subject to landfill bans and other local ordinances are considered non-regulated.

DENRs Environmental Stewardship Initiative is a voluntary program designed to promote and encourage superior environmental performance by North Carolinas regulated community. The program seeks to reduce the impact on the environment beyond measures required by any permit or rule, producing a better environment, conserving natural resources and resulting in long-term economic benefits.

The ESI provides benefits and technical assistance to stimulate the development and implementation of programs that use pollution prevention and innovative approaches to meet and exceed regulatory requirements. For more information about the program, visit www.p2pays.org/esi/.

Participants in this pilot program will be expected to make a commitment to continuous environmental improvement, participate in training and networking opportunities, and report annually on progress made toward at least two measureable goals.

ESI members have made impressive environmental reductions over the years, resulting in more than $30 million in savings, said DENR Secretary Dee Freeman. We wanted to be able to reach out to more businesses in North Carolina to help them become more sustainable and stay competitive in todays economy.

ESI wants to recruit facilities that are willing to lead and provide input into the development and implementation of the program. In return, participants will be offered free technical assistance, including water, waste and energy assessments and the opportunity for networking with and being mentored by ESI members from the regulated community. Participants in this pilot program will be instrumental in creating a sustainable structure for a potential statewide program.

For more information or to apply, go to www.p2pays.org/esi/PilotProgram.asp or contact Stacy Givens at 919-715-6534.