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NIST to Support Environmental Assistance to Smaller Manufacturers

Deputy Commerce Secretary David J. Barram today announced a Department of Commerce program aimed at helping the nation's 370,000 small and medium-size manufacturers solve environmental concerns in the most cost-effective manner before they become problems requiring regulatory or compliance action. The announcement was made at the "Justifying Technology's Value to the Bottom Line" conference co-sponsored by DOC's Technology Administration and the Conference Board in New York City.

"Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency, will seek project proposals from non-profit organizations to carry out the program's main goal: helping smaller manufacturers to be both environmentally sound and competitive," Barram said.

The process for solicitations is expected to be detailed in an issue of the Federal Register during the week starting Jan. 23, 1995; the formal solicitation for proposals and its 30-day deadline will be announced approximately four days later in the Commerce Business Daily.

Coordinated by NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership in cooperation with the EPA, the jointly funded competition is expected to award over $3 million in cooperative agreements and financial assistance for selected projects. Projects will leverage the locations and resources of the non-profit manufacturing extension centers in the MEP's national network to make this assistance readily available to and very cost effective for smaller U.S. manufacturers. The network currently numbers 44 centers, with plans for 100 nationwide by 1997.

The support and involvement of the EPA is vital to the success of the NIST MEP environmental projects. Along with helping to finance the program, EPA personnel will team with NIST MEP staff to review submitted proposals and select for funding those best meeting the eligibility criteria.

Proposals are being sought for projects in three areas:

  • Integration of Environmental Services into Manufacturing Extension Centers—These projects, for which an existing MEP center must be the lead proposer, will support the integration of environmentally focused technical assistance, and especially pollution prevention assistance, into the broader services provided by MEP centers;
  • Development of Environmentally Related Technical Assistance Tools and Techniques—These projects will support the initial development and implementation of tools or techniques which will aide manufacturing extension organizations (including MEP centers) in providing environmentally related services to smaller manufacturers; and
  • Pilots for National Industry-Specific Pollution Prevention and Environmental Compliance Information Centers—These projects will support the pilot implementation of national centers to provide specific industries with easy access to current, reliable and comprehensive information on innovative technologies, pollution prevention opportunities and regulatory compliance. Industry sectors for individual competitions in this category will be specified in solicitation announcements.

Further information on the MEP and the Environmental Projects Competition, as well as application packages for the competition, may be obtained by calling the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at (301) 975-5020, faxing a message to (301) 963-6556, sending electronic mail to mepinfo [at] (mepinfo[at]micf[dot]nist[dot]gov) (via Internet) or writing to the MEP, Polymers B115, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released January 17, 1995, Updated January 8, 2018