The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments required states to develop programs to help small businesses comply with air quality regulations. These state programs have three components: a small business compliance assistance program made up of small business environmental assistance providers' programs (SBEAP), a small business ombudsman (SBO) and a compliance advisory panel (CAP). These components work together and are monitored by the U.S. EPA asbestos and small business ombudsman (EPA ASBO).
To better meet the needs of small businesses, many of these state technical assistance programs have expanded their air quality focus to provide technical assistance in other environmental areas. Services provided by these organizations for small businesses include multi-media environmental compliance and pollution prevention (P2). P2 services help businesses reduce emissions at the source, often reducing regulatory burden and sometimes saving money. To access these free, often confidential services and see which ones your state offers, contact your state program. A flyer that describes the programs nationally, can be found here.
In an effort to help encourage better communication around the country between state technical assistance programs and the EPA, a national steering committee (NSC), representing state SBO/SBEAPs, and a national CAP (for state CAPs) have been formed. Through these coordinated efforts, state programs are able to tackle issues relevant to their purpose and share information to help avoid duplication of effort.
The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program website, funded by EPA ASBO, was originally developed in 1996 as a resource for small businesses and state SBEAPs and SBOs, NSC, and state and national CAPs. In 2015, a new version of the website was developed and funded through a cooperative agreement with EPA’s ASBO office, with the objective to provide a “one-stop shop” for small businesses and assistance providers seeking information on a wide range of environmental topics. Read more about the ASBO here.
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