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At the Sept. 22 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence ceremony, Gov. Tom Ridge announced that Pennsylvania has won a second Innovations Award from the Council of State Governments. The awards are presented to the most innovative new programs in American state government.

In addition to the Innovations Award won by Pennsylvania’s GreenWorks for Pennsylvania television show, Pennsylvania also will be honored for its participation in the Multi-State Working Group, a collaborative effort among Pennsylvania and 11 other states to study environmental management systems.

The goal of the Multi-State Working Group is to evaluate the environmental and economic benefits of environmental management systems by collecting data from pilot projects in participating states.

An environmental management system is a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the actions that a company takes to meet its environmental obligations. Such systems strive for constant improvement, going beyond what a company is required to do to meet its regulatory obligations — going beyond compliance — and actually striving for zero pollution. Environmental management systems point out where pollution can be avoided altogether rather than simply managing it after it occurs.

The Multi-State Working Group will create a national database of information collected from companies that use environmental management systems that volunteer in participating states. This database will be used to document the types of savings — both economic and environmental — and identify common management techniques that states can incorporate into regulatory policies and programs.

The other participating states in the Multi-State Working Group are Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.

DEP is partnering with Pennsylvania organizations interested in contributing to the database.

The GreenWorks for Pennsylvania television show — a joint environmental educational program of the Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania (EFP) and DEP — and the Multi-State Working Group — were among the eight projects selected from 216 nationwide entries submitted to the Council of State Governments. The eight awards were given for environmental, social, law-enforcement and transportation programs.

"DEP is honored to receive two of the eight 1998 Innovations Awards from the Council of State Governments," DEP Secretary James M. Seif said. "This awards competition is particularly significant because it is presented by our peers, and it is the second year in a row that Pennsylvania programs have won."

Last year, Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Program was honored by the council.

<> For more information on the Multi-State Working Group, contact Patrick McDonnell in DEP’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance at 717 772-5941 or visit DEP’s website at (choose Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance/Multi-State Working Group on Environmental Management Systems. For information on Greenworks, visit the GreenWorks for Pennsylvania website at, or call EFP at 800 334-3190.

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