NJ DEP commissioner recognizes environmental stewards
A New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection program to encourage businesses and other institutions to better protect the environment by exceeding regulatory requirements is paying dividends, Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said during a ceremony recognizing scores of companies and other entities that have taken steps to become environmental stewards. The program offers public acknowledgement to those who adopt practices that exceed what is required by law...
TRENTON, NJ, May 6, 2008 -- A program spearheaded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to encourage businesses and other institutions to better protect the environment by exceeding regulatory requirements is paying dividends, Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said during a ceremony recognizing scores of companies and other entities that have taken steps to become environmental stewards.
"These businesses, public institutions, government agencies and other members of the regulated community are at the leading edge of a new approach to environmental protection and are a clear sign that the concept of using positive reinforcement to stimulate stewardship is taking hold in New Jersey," Commissioner Jackson said during the ceremony at the Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst in Ocean County.
The DEP's Environmental Stewardship Program offers public acknowledgement to those who adopt practices that exceed what is required of them by laws and regulations. The DEP then showcases these achievements as incentive for others to follow.
During the ceremony, the DEP recognized the Naval Air Engineering Station, Mannington Mills Industries in Mannington Township, and Wyeth Holdings Corp. in Bridgewater Township for their efforts to integrate environmental stewardship practices into their operations.
They demonstrated strong overall environmental policies, are committed to community outreach, participate in federal stewardship programs, and carry out programs to enhance the environment. They also assisted the DEP in developing its Environmental Stewardship Program, launched in January.
So far, the DEP has verified upwards of 80 businesses and other entities as implementing various environmental stewardship practices. They include manufacturers, chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, utilities authorities, medical facilities, and educational institutions.
"We have taken a unique approach by making stewardship evaluations a core component of our routine inspections of facilities. This provides us with a complete, on-the-ground perspective of steps businesses and other members of the regulated community are taking to enhance environmental protection," Commissioner Jackson said.
"Of course, our primary mission remains policing the environmental beat, using all the tools available to us to ensure compliance with our tough regulations," the commissioner added. "However, it just makes better business sense and is better for the environment if companies adopt strategies that reduce environmental impacts in as many operational areas as possible."
Since January, DEP inspectors have been asking facility operators a series of questions about their operations. The inspectors are asking facility operators whether they maintain a comprehensive written environmental policy, whether they operate under an Environmental Management System designed to reduce environmental impacts, and whether they publish an annual environmental report.
The facilities are also assessed on a variety of other factors such as having programs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, conserving energy and water, reducing generation of hazardous waste, encouraging green-building construction, requiring vendors to utilize environmentally-friendly practices, and encouraging employees to car-pool and use mass transit.
For more information on the initiative and a list of facilities the DEP is recognizing as environmental stewards, go to: www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/stewardship/