SPRINGFIELD – Several environmental regulations impacting the printing, auto repair, furniture, dry cleaning and other industries in and around Chicago and the Metro East region would be streamlined and clarified under regulatory changes proposed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to the Illinois Pollution Control Board. The EPA’s proposed changes would allow many small businesses to operate more efficiently and increase their overall competitiveness, a major priority of Governor Rod Blagojevich’s innovative Opportunity Returns initiative - the historic, regional economic development plan that he rolled out for the Metro East region last December. In the coming months, the Governor will unveil his plan for Chicago and the Northeast region.
“For far too long, many have viewed business growth and job creation as being in direct conflict with preservation. Sound business practices and sound environmental practices do not have to be at odds. These important EPA reforms will mean lower costs for businesses and their customers, without hurting us or our environment,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The proposed changes include measures such as reducing test times for air admissions reviews, streamlining regulations for several industries relating to the use of chemicals in their production and operation, and eliminating the annual registration requirement for motor vehicle refinishing.
“These changes are part of Governor Blagojevich’s ongoing efforts to reform state government and make it more efficient and responsive. In many cases, these changes will save impacted companies time and critical resources by reducing or eliminating reporting and record keeping requirements that are no longer needed,” IEPA Director Renee Cipriano added.
A variety of reporting and regulatory guidelines can be streamlined without compromising standards that guard against negligence to the environment. Streamlining regulations could potentially reduce the costs for more than 300 facilities in the printing, refining, coating, painting and resin, chemical, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries in both regions.
Other changes that could assist business efficiency include:
Facilitating the implementation of new carbon absorbers and control devices using aluminum and silicon oxides, besides the traditional activated carbon.
Allowing lithographic printing operations to turn off their natural gas fired afterburners outside the ozone season, providing cost and energy savings to the industry.
Repealing the state’s volatile organic materials regulation of perchloroethylene (“perc”) used by dry cleaners. This is now redundant because perc is now covered under USEPA regulations issued under the federal Clean Air Act.
Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials. The specific projects that the Governor has or will announce are designed to be flexible and effective. These plans are tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.