Environmental Know-How

Small businesses can tap into the EPA to learn about compliance

Business owners in the auto service and repair, agriculture and printing industries, among others, face substantial federal environmental regulations, and thus must stay on top of the latest requirements and technologies. But it can be difficult to get this information unless you’re a member of a trade organization or subscribe to certain publications.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, however, has devised a way to help you get your business off the ground smoothly. In 1996, it established the first of what are now six “virtual” Small Business Compliance Assistance Centers designed to help small- to mid-sized companies obtain information about federal regulations via the Internet and toll-free numbers specific to their industry. Having the proper information improves compliance and generates profits as well as savings.

Resources include pollution-prevention case studies; summaries and the full text of federal regulations; the most current regulatory actions; vendor listings; online chat rooms; training via satellite; and environmental management software and benchmarking tools.

Links to each of these sites and information on what they provide can be accessed by going to the Web address www.epa.gov/oeca/mfac.html:

The National Metal Finishing Resource Center site targets metal finishers.

The CCAR-GreenLink Automotive Compliance information Assistance Center serves automotive technicians, auto body and repair shop owners, automotive trade associations, car dealer service departments and automotive educators and students.

The Printers National Compliance Assistance Center site targets the owners of small printing businesses.

The National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center site targets farmers and farmworkers, product and service providers, and other agencies and associations.

The Printed Wiring Board Manufacturing Center site targets printed wiring board manufacturers, industry vendors, suppliers, and federal, state and local agencies.

The Transportation Compliance Assistance Center provides information on airline, shipping and barging, pipeline, railroad and trucking compliance.

Web sites for the chemical, local government and paints and coating industries are on tap for the end of the year.

FYI: Trade opportunity

NMBC sponsors trade mission

The National Minority Business Council is sponsoring a trade and investment mission to Kingston, Jamaica, Oct. 23-27. The mission includes 200 projects covering 18 industry sectors, including agri-business, waste management, information technology and banking and insurance. The cost is $1,100 single and $1,600 double, and includes roundtrip airfare, taxes, hotel, breakfast, state dinner and seminars. For more information, contact the NMBC at 212-573-2385.

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