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August 16, 2001

Ryan Signs Bill to Extend Unique Flexible Approach to Environmental Measures

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed Senate Bill 861 that will allow the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to continue a voluntary regulatory innovation program that stresses flexibility in pursuing improved environmental protection.

The Illinois Regulatory Innovation Pilot Program (RIPP), which would have sunset on December 31 of this year, was created under a 1996 amendment to the Illinois Environmental Protection Act. The program allows the IEPA to explore more effective and less cumbersome ways to achieve better environmental protection and pollution prevention.

"It is just good sense to concentrate on achieving a goal in the most direct way possible," Gov. Ryan said. "This sort of flexible approach lets businesses and communities use their thorough knowledge of their own needs to decide what works best for them and still protects and improves the environment."

The Illinois RIPP was designed to complement U.S. EPA's Federal XL Program that gives the regulated community flexibility to develop alternative ways of achieving broader environmental benefits with more public participation and fewer administrative burdens.

Since the creation of the IEPA more than 30 years ago, some progressive companies and local governments have demonstrated their willingness and ability to assume leadership roles in finding better, more efficient ways to achieve environmental protection. The extended RIPP will allow qualified participants to enter formal agreements with IEPA to pursue sensible practices that improve environmental performance.

To qualify, participants must not be currently subject to enforcement, have a history of violations, have failed to apply for and obtain any needed permits or have failed to pay any required fees or penalties.

"The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recognizes that the regulated community is often in the best position to know what works best," said IEPA Director Renee Cipriano. "By giving them the flexibility they need to use that knowledge, we can achieve our goal of environmental protection while removing burdensome requirements."

To date, the 3M Company at Bedford Park , and Nestle Company based in Jacksonville have signed and completed Environmental Management System Agreements with the Agency under the program.

SB 861 was sponsored in the House by Representatives Rosemary Mulligan, R-Des Plaines; Thomas Holbrook, D-Belleville; Andrea Moore, R-Libertyville; Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview; Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa; and in the Senate by Dave Sullivan, R-Mt. Prospect.


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