The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology today announced that 16 affiliates of its Manufacturing Extension Partnership will receive funding to help smaller manufacturers find, access and implement technologies or techniques that will enable them to be both environmentally sound and competitive.
"Environmentally sound practices make good business sense. But, smaller companies often lack resources to learn about and incorporate these technologies and techniques into their business practices. This effort, and others being promoted by NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Environmental Protection Agency, are helping these companies be stronger competitors while reducing impacts on the environment," said MEP Director Kevin Carr.
The MEP affiliates are: Industry Network Corp. (Alaska), Connecticut State Technology Extension Program, Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Chicago Manufacturing Center, Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corp., Kentucky Technology Service, Minnesota Manufacturing Technology Center, Nebraska Industrial Competitiveness Service, New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Great Lakes Manufacturing Technology Center (Ohio), Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Southeast Manufacturing Technology Center (South Carolina), Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, and A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Center (Virginia).
Coordinated by NIST's MEP, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the 16 MEP centers will identify the environmental assistance needs of the state's industries and the available environmental resources, programs and organizations. Each center, working in partnership with organizations in the state, also will develop and implement a statewide system of environmental services.
Most states already have a broad array of agencies that provide industry with compliance and regulatory information, pollution prevention technical assistance and regulatory permits as well as agencies that inspect or audit companies to ensure they are complying with regulations. Many of these agencies operate independently making it difficult for companies, especially smaller ones, to find the right information or assistance. By coordinating the resources of these regulatory agencies and service providers, manufacturers will find it easier and more efficient to find environmental information and comply with regulations.
Federal funding from NIST and EPA to develop these state-wide environmental assistance networks totals $1.6 million. To leverage federal resources, cost-shared funding totals $1.2 million. NIST solicited proposals for this project through the June 21, 1996, Commerce Business Daily.
During the past several years, NIST has worked in conjunction with EPA and other organizations to initiate a number of activities aimed at helping smaller manufacturers use more efficient technologies and better management techniques to reduce or eliminate sources of pollution in their operations. Other projects include integrating environmentally focused technical assistance into the broader services provided by MEP affiliates and a resource on the World Wide Web to provide information on regulatory compliance and technologies/techniques for preventing pollution in the metal finishing industry.
With affiliate centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the MEP is a nationwide system of services and support for smaller manufacturers giving them unprecedented access to new technologies, resources and expertise.
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.