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Small Business Assistance

The P2 Bureau’s Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) recently hosted the Small Business Ombudsmen/Small Business Assistance Program (SBO/SBAP) National Conference and Training Event on June 20 through 22, 2000.  The event was held in Missoula, Montana and included one full day of specialized training that was held prior to the conference on June 19, 2000.  Karen Ekstrom, Small Business Ombudsman for DEQ, served as the Project Manager/Project Director for the conference and coordinated all planning, support, and implementation of conference activities.  The event included 3 general sessions, 41 breakout sessions, and 4 pre-conference training sessions.  A total of 191 people attended the conference, representing 44 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.  Post-conference evaluations rated the event an overwhelming success in part due to several innovative conference “firsts,” including a website, online registration, and shared meeting space that allowed for open communication and relationship building with the pollution prevention organization P2RX.

In addition to hosting the national conference, DEQ’s SBAP continues to represent the interests of small businesses throughout the state by reviewing and commenting on regulations that impact small businesses and by providing technical assistance directly to small businesses.  Under a grant from EPA, the P2 Bureau’s SBAP is currently evaluating a variety of marketing strategies for outreach to Montana’s small business community in light of small business needs related to P2 and environmental compliance.

Source Water Protection, Groundwater Planning, and Wetlands Conservation

Another primary responsibility of the P2 Bureau is administering the Source Water Protection Program (SWPP), which was approved by EPA in November of 1999. Through the SWPP, the P2 Bureau continues to provide assistance to more than 2,000 public water systems in Montana for which a delineation and assessment report must be completed in the next few years. The P2 Bureau's goal is to have the majority of communities complete a source water protection plan in addition to the required delineations and assessments for their public water supplies.  The assessment part of the SWPP identifies businesses, other sites, or certain land uses within the delineated area that may pose a potential risk of contamination because of the chemicals or processes used.  These businesses will be targeted for P2 assistance by Bureau staff and others at DEQ.  

The P2 Bureau also provides oversight to several local water quality districts in their efforts to address water quality issues like source water planning and hazardous waste management.  Further, through continued coordination with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and other DEQ programs, the P2 Bureau remains involved in groundwater planning activities throughout Montana.  The Bureau continues to manage the wetland grants program, facilitate the statewide Wetlands Council, coordinate the completion of a baseline inventory of wetlands in Montana, and encourage and support the integration of wetland restoration projects into other DEQ and state government programs.  

Bioenergy and Transportation Activities

The P2 Bureau has continued to research, demonstrate, and promote alternative transportation fuels and modes of transportation, especially with regard to the use of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel.  Working with Yellowstone National Park, the Greater Yellowstone Teton Clean Cities Coalition, and others, the P2 Bureau has continued its efforts to evaluate and recommend alternative fuels and modes of transportation to reduce traffic, congestion, and air pollution in the region.  Recent efforts culminated in the Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) 2000 in which college students competed to reduce the environmental effects of two-cycle snowmobile engines. 

Waste Reduction and Recycling

The P2 Bureau works to reduce the amount of material that goes into Montana landfills by investigating, supporting, and encouraging measures that prevent pollution before it can occur. The Bureau endorses an integrated approach to waste management by promoting the reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting of wastes prior to landfilling or incineration.  The Bureau currently is updating its Integrated Waste Management Plan and evaluating Montana’s progress in meeting waste reduction goals that were set forth in 1994.  The P2 Bureau also concentrates on expanding the types and amounts of materials that are recycled in Montana and developing markets for reusable and recyclable products.  The Bureau has continued developing markets for recycled glass in Montana and supporting and promoting Pay-As-You-Throw solid waste pricing ventures throughout the state.  New projects have included assisting wood waste generators to develop alternatives to landfill disposal, acting as the statewide contact for America Recycles Day, and investigating the feasibility of electronics recycling in the state.  Further, the Bureau recently compiled a statewide directory of recycled products and initiated efforts to identify and implement strategies to reduce waste in state government offices.  Finally, work continues on a new initiative to demonstrate construction materials or techniques that can reduce job site wastes or reduce the resources needed to manufacture and transport materials used in new home construction.

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