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 EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- An innovative partnership between government and industry was announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and leaders of regulatory agencies and business in Southern California.
 The Merit Partnership for Pollution Prevention brings the business community together with federal, state and regional regulatory agencies to facilitate adoption of pollution prevention methods that reduce environmental impacts and enhance industrial efficiency.
 "Partnerships and pollution prevention are among U.S. EPA's top priorities," said John Wise, U.S. EPA's acting regional administrator. "We believe the Merit Partnership will be a model of how government and industry can work together to achieve common goals. It demonstrates the merit -- both environmental and economic -- of preventing pollution before it happens. U.S. EPA is committed to advancing these clean technologies and making it easier for industry to realize their benefits."
 The Merit Partnership's initial industry participants include Dow North America, Northrop Corp., Xerox Corp., Wescal Industries, the Metal Finishers Association of Southern California and the Western States Petroleum Association.
 Participating agencies include Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and Fire Department and the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department.
 U.S. EPA initiated the effort as a means of reducing toxic releases in southwestern Los Angeles County, where there is a high concentration of industrial facilities. Data from the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) have shown that the area's toxic releases are the highest in the state.
 "Many of our industry partners have already made significant strides in reducing their waste streams," said Wise. "Sharing their valuable pollution prevention experience with other companies will mean cost-effective manufacturing methods and a cleaner environment."
 The partnership is designed to gather and disseminate agency and industry experience with successful pollution prevention techniques; assist with audits of companies to identify pollution prevention opportunities; expedite permitting of approved pollution prevention projects; and seek funding sources to provide low-interest loans for industrial process modification.
 Several initial pollution prevention projects were unveiled when the Merit Partnership was announced at a news conference this morning at Northrop's F/A-18 aircraft assembly facility in El Segundo. They include:
 -- Oil Industry Roundtable
 The partnership is working to organize a meeting
 of major California oil refiners, regulating agencies,
 and pollution prevention experts to begin a process of
 sharing successful pollution prevention processes
 within the industry.
 -- Distribution Spill Prevention Group
 Dow North America is leading a group of chemical,
 petroleum and transportation companies in an effort to
 strengthen industry standards for safe transportation
 of chemicals.
 -- Quick Permitting for a Small Business
 Wescal Industries, a small maker of electrical
 components, received all its required permits in record
 time for installation of a dual-stage cyanide destruct
 unit to remove hazardous chemicals from its facility.
 -- Sharing Aerospace Technology, Cleaner Contracts
 Northrop Corp. and other companies will document
 and share with smaller businesses cost-effective
 manufacturing processes that reduce pollutant releases.
 Northrop will also help advance pollution prevention
 requirements in military and civilian contracts.
 -- Perfecting a Cleaner Soldering Technique
 Xerox Corp. is developing a new soldering process
 to replace pollution-forming compounds with water-based
 fluxes that will save money and clean the air.
 -- Workshop and Training on Minimizing Waste
 The Metal Finishers Association of Southern
 California, representing small metal plating companies,
 will sponsor a workshop on minimizing waste and ask its
 member companies to assess their own waste streams to
 identify pollution prevention opportunities.
 -- Funding Assistance for Small Businesses
 The Merit Partnership has been recommended for a
 U.S. EPA grant of $375,000 to provide loans to small
 metal finishers and other businesses for pollution
 prevention projects that will generate returns to help
 repay the loans.
 A community advisory panel has been formed to provide input from citizens, environmental organizations, and local governments on the direction of the Partnership and its oversight of pollution prevention projects.
 "The Merit Partnership is an innovative model for industry, government and the environmental communities to work together to improve the quality of life in Southern California," said Gail Ruderman Feuer, senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and a member of the Community Advisory Panel.
 Companies interested in more information on the Merit Partnership should call Dan Reich, U.S. EPA co-chair, at 415-744-1336; or Carl Weisiger, Dow Chemical co-chair, at 310-533-5294.
 -0- 10/4/93
 /CONTACT: Lois Grunwald of the U.S. EPA, 415-744-1588/

CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: ENV SU: EXE

SG -- SF008 -- 8428 10/04/93 14:25 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 4, 1993

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