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NIST, EPA, Industry Form Center to Provide Environmental Technology to Smaller Manufacturers

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency and four industry groups today announced a new program to enhance the international competitiveness of smaller U.S. firms by enabling them to gain easy access to pollution prevention technologies and techniques.

The program establishes the National Metal Finishing Resource Center to provide companies with access to comprehensive information on regulatory compliance and pollution prevention opportunities, technologies and techniques. This center is the first of four national assistance centers for industry, which are part of the Clinton Administration's Reinvention of Environmental Regulations.

Industry partners are the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the National Association of Metal Finishers, the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society, and the Metal Finishing Suppliers' Association.

"Becoming environmentally competitive makes good business sense as manufacturers benefit from more efficient use of materials and the environment benefits from reduced wastes and emissions," said Gary Bachula, the Commerce Department's deputy under secretary for technology at the SUR/FIN 95 conference in Baltimore sponsored by the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society.

"This project complements the goal of NIST s Manufacturing Extension Partnership to increase the international competitiveness of U.S. businesses through the modernization of technologies and techniques used by small and medium-sized manufacturers. By increasing efficiencies in material usage and production and using better management techniques, smaller U.S. businesses will be stronger competitors in world markets while reducing impacts on the environment," added Bachula. MEP's national network of 42 locally managed centers in 32 states will play a major role in facilitating access by smaller businesses to the center's information.

"This is another example of EPA's commitment to help small businesses comply with the law as economically and efficiently as possible. The center will show how government and industry can work together to help smaller manufacturers become more competitive, and to achieve greater compliance and a cleaner environment," said Steve Herman, EPA's assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance.

The center, located at NCMS's facility in Ann Arbor, Mich., will provide an electronic information source, which can be accessed through the World Wide Web on the Internet. This connection will enable users to browse through a technical library, query the center's assistance providers, or post questions to other subscribers. The center also will offer a toll-free number for in-person information requests and fax-back services for standards material. The center is expected to begin operating on a pilot basis by the end of 1995, with full operations and services available six months later. Through fees for service, it is expected to be self-supporting after three years.

Total funding for the center is approximately $1.7 million, which includes funding from EPA, $650,000; NIST, $100,000; and over $900,000 in funds and other resources from the four industry groups. The center is contingent on completion of funding negotiations and the signing of cooperative research agreements by NIST, EPA, and NCMS.

This project is part of a larger effort being sponsored by NIST and EPA to provide environmental assistance to smaller manufacturers. In addition to the Metal Finishing Center, EPA also is forming national assistance centers for small farmers, auto repair shops and the printing industry.

For further information, contact Greg Waldrip at EPA, (202) 564-7024, Brian Sweeney at NIST's MEP, (301) 975-3591, or William Sonntag, representing the industry group, (202) 965-5190.

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.

The American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society is the principal technical and educational organization for the surface finishing industry comprised of over 8,000 individual members in all segments of the manufacturing sector. The National Association of Metal Finishers represents over 800 companies in the surface finishing industry. NAMF represents the industry in federal government relations activities, pollution prevention and environmental policy. The Metal Finishing Suppliers' Association represents over 180 firms that supply process and environmental technology, equipment and professional services to the industry.

Released June 27, 1995, Updated November 27, 2017