EPA Halts Performance Track Program
On March 16, 2009, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the termination of EPA's nine-year-old National Environmental Performance Track Program (the "Performance Track Program"). The Performance Track Program encouraged facilities to voluntarily establish measurable goals aimed at improving environmental quality. In exchange for participating in the Performance Track Program, participants faced reduced inspections and gained flexibility with respect to certain regulatory requirements. Since its inception, approximately 500 facilities in 22 different states entered the Performance Track Program. EPA is presently conducting two comprehensive reviews of the Performance Track Program to determine its efficacy as it evaluates the potential for future environmental stewardship programs within the agency. EPA has also issued follow-up guidance to Performance Track Program participants indicating that such participants and their facilities are no longer considered to be a "low priority for routine inspection" by EPA. Performance Track Program participants have also been advised that all regulatory incentives existing pursuant to the program have been discontinued. While Administrator Jackson acknowledged in her memorandum terminating the Performance Track Program that participants "have made significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption," she further found that the program "was developed in a different era and may not speak to today's challenges."